Marco Rubio Vs. Charlie Crist: A Tale Of 10 Straw Polls

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is supposed to represent Republicans — aren’t they? Heck, they’ve got the word “Republican” right there in their name. They certainly don’t hesitate to hit up Republicans for money. They also bill themselves as THE organization to give to if you want to help elect Republicans in the Senate.

Yet, in Florida, where both Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist look to be on pace to easily defeat anybody the Democrats can run against them, the NRSC has sandbagged Marco Rubio by endorsing Charlie Crist.

This was rather extraordinary for a number of reasons. First off, why is an organization that is supposed to represent “Republicans,” getting involved in a Republican primary at all? The NRSC shouldn’t be endorsing Charlie Crist. They shouldn’t be endorsing Marco Rubio. They shouldn’t be privately telling people that they support Carly Fiorina over Chuck Devore in California. They shouldn’t endorse Chuck Devore. That’s just not their role.

When they try to sabotage one candidate in a primary, inevitably, they end up infuriating a lot of Republicans — and worse yet, 99 times out of a hundred, they interfere because they fear that the hoi-polloi is going to make the “wrong choice.” In other words, if the very smart people at the NRSC didn’t interfere, the dummies in flyover country wouldn’t pick the candidate all the DC Republicans know is best.

That’s why after being incessantly told that the Republican Party needs to get younger, more Hispanic, and more conservative, the NRSC tried to cripple a young, charismatic, conservative, blue chip Hispanic candidate in favor of a pro-stimulus, pro-cap and trade mediocrity like Charlie Crist.

Happily, it looks very likely that the NRSC, which does not deserve one thin dime of your money, is going to fail in Florida. The first skirmishes of this Senate battle, which is shaping up to be the most important fight between the DC establishment and movement conservatives in the country, is already being fought in straw polls across Florida.

So far, there have been 10 straw polls. Each one was conducted by Republican organizations which had members that were thoroughly familiar with both Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist. How has it gone so far? Each and every one of the 10 straw polls has been an utter rout.

Pasco County GOP Straw Poll: Rubio 73 — Crist 9

Lee County Republican Executive Committee: Rubio 60 — Crist 11

Highlands County Executive Committee: Rubio 75 — Crist 1

Bay County Executive Committee: Rubio 23 — Crist 2

Jefferson County Executive Committee: Rubio 39 — Crist 6

The Florida Federation Of College Republicans: Rubio 19 — Crist 6

The Republican Women’s Club of Duval Federated: Rubio 65 — Crist 4

Gilchrist County executive committee: Rubio 11 — Crist 1

Hernando County straw poll: Rubio 46 — Crist 0

Northwest Orange Republican Women Federation: Rubio 49 — Crist 3

In one sense, these are small numbers of people. Yet and still, these are local Republican leaders and activists who are familiar with both candidates — and Charlie Crist got less votes from those people in 10 straw polls than Marco Rubio got in Pasco County alone.

When Republican voters know Marco Rubio as well as they do Charlie Crist, they’re going to reject Charlie Crist — and he deserves to be rejected. He’s an Arlen Specter style Republican and a potential Larry Craig problem who probably really got the nod because he said a lot of nice things about John Cornyn’s tie at some stuffed shirt Republican dinner.

The foolish way the NRSC has handled things in Florida just goes to show you that if the GOP does well in the Senate in 2010, it will be in spite of, not because of, the work of the NRSC.

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