Is Charlie Crist About To Take The Dede Scozzafava Route?

When Joe Lieberman declared that he was going to run as an:  Independent, I immediately told people he could go that route and win. Here’s what I penned on RWN back on August 10, 2006, the same day that Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary:

A Breakdown Of CT. voters according to the 2006 Almanac of American Politics:

43% Independent
34.2% Democratic
22.9% Republicans

If Joe Lieberman gets 60% of the Independent vote, which seems entirely plausible given Joe’s popularity with them and the fact that he’ll be running as an independent, that’s 25.8% of the electorate for him and 17.2% of the electorate for Lamont.

If Lieberman gets 75% of the Republican vote, which seems entirely plausible given that Joe is fairly well liked among Republicans and Lamont is very liberal, that’s another 17.2% of the electorate for Joe, which brings him up to 43% of the electorate. Let’s assume the rest goes to Libertarians, third party candidates, Schlesinger (if he stays in), etc. Now, we’re up to 43% of the electorate for Joe and 17.2% for Lamont.

If Joe Lieberman can get 24% of the Democratic Vote, which seems entirely plausible given that he got 48% in the primary and only 1 in 5 Lieberman supporters thought he shouldn’t pursue an independent run, that would give Joe another 8.2% of the electorate while Lamont would capture another 26.0% of the electorate.

Final tally? Lieberman 51.2% and 43.2% for Lamont. Are those plausible numbers? You bet. Will it work out that way? Well, that’s why we have elections, instead of just relying on number crunching. But, from where I’m sitting, Lieberman is still in the catbird’s seat for the general election.

Incidentally, the final results? It turned out to be 50% for Lieberman and 40% for Lamont. That’s not too shabby, right?

Well now, it’s starting to look like Charlie Crist may run as an:  Independent in Florida.

He’s way behind Rubio, his fundraising is drying up, he just vetoed an education bill that Republicans love, and his campaign chairman, former Senator Connie Mack, just resigned. The fact that Mack is leaving may be a signal that he knows something that we don’t: Crist is planning to run as an Independent.

Will he? Won’t he? It’s hard to say for sure at this point, but there’s a poll out that seems to show he’d be a viable contender:

Quinnipiac: If Crist were to file as an independent for the general election, he would get 32 percent of the vote, compared to Rubio’s 30 percent and Meek’s 24 percent.

This may be enough to convince Charlie Crist to break his pledge to run in the GOP primary, but Rasmussen showed a much tougher race for Crist as an independent. In a March three-way match-up, Rubio led Crist 42% to 22%, with Democrat Meek garnering 25% of the vote.

Even setting aside the Rasmussen poll, which showed Crist getting splattered in a three-way-race, if you know the race and look at the guts of the Quinnipiac poll, what you’ll find is that Crist wouldn’t be a viable:  Independent candidate:

If Crist were to file as an independent for the general election, he would get 32 percent of the vote, compared to Rubio’s 30 percent and Meek’s 24 percent.

…In a three-way general election:

Crist would get 30 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of independent voters;

Rubio would receive 64 percent of GOP votes, 5 percent from Democrats and 29 percent of independents:

Meek, a congressman from South Florida, would get 55 percent of Democratic votes, 15 percent of independents and no Republicans.

Meek is much less known than either of the Republicans with 73 percent of voters not knowing enough about him to rate him either favorably or unfavorably. Rubio is rated favorably by 36 percent; unfavorably by 22 percent and 41 percent don’t have an opinion. Crist is viewed favorably by 48 percent, unfavorably by 35 percent and just 13 percent don’t know enough about him to have an opinion.

When Joe Lieberman pulled off his victory in the three-way-race, the GOP candidate wasn’t a serious contender; : so Joe was able:  : to capture the overwhelming majority of the Republican votes.

Although Meek is not a blue-chip candidate, he’s viable and by election day, he’s going to be getting almost all of the Democratic votes. Moreover, if Crist sells out his party to run as an:  Independent, his GOP support will nearly flatline as well. So, you’ll end up with Rubio and Meek battling it out and Crist way behind. Once Independents figure out Crist can’t win, his numbers will plunge there, too.

Then, the only remaining question will be: Can Charlie Crist peel off enough votes from Marco Rubio to cost him the election? In other words, the next:  senator from Florida is NOT going to be Charlie Crist and he’s going to have to figure out how to deal with that. If he wants to have any kind of political future in the GOP, he won’t run as an:  Independent. If he wants to pull a Dede Scozzafava style, “From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee” run at the office, he can do it — but no one should have any illusions that it would be anything other than that.

PS: Hey John Cornyn and the NRSC, that was one F-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c endorsement you geniuses made in Florida. Thank goodness the party can rely on political professionals like you guys at the NRSC instead:  of:  listening to all of us dumb bloggers

PS #2: As an extra added bonus, let me note some of the other prominent Republicans who’ve endorsed Charlie Crist: Lamar Alexander, Jon Kyl, Mitch McConnell, Mel Martinez, Lindsey Graham, & John McCain. Great job, : guys! You really know how to pick a winner!

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