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It’s a political earthquake in one of the most-watched GOP contests of the year: Gov. Charlie Crist, once considered the odds-on favorite to become Florida’s next senator but now facing fierce Tea Party opposition and lagging in the polls, just lost his campaign chairman.
Former senator Connie Mack, a close friend of Crist’s who was chairing his Senate campaign, resigned his post yesterday. According to the Associated Press, Mack did so to protest Crist’s Thursday veto of a bill that would have tied teacher pay and job security to student test scores.
In a letter to Crist, Mack recounted a friendship of “many years” and said “I prize our relationship.” But the former senator said he considers Crist’s veto “unsupportable and wrong.”
“I can no longer serve as chair of your campaign for the United States Senate,” Mack wrote. “This letter serves as my resignation.”
USA TODAY attempted to contact Mack, but we have been told he is traveling and unavailable for comment. A response from Crist also was pending.
Crist is now running behind former state representative Marco Rubio in a GOP nominating contest that has been targeted by Tea Party organizations. Both the Tea Party Express and FreedomWorks, a Washington-based think tank that has provided some of the organizing muscle behind Tea Party Patriots, are supporting Rubio as the true conservative in the race.
Primary day is Aug. 24. Lately, Crist has been trying to tamp down speculation that he might skip the primary and run as an independent.
Mack was enormously popular in Florida: He won his last statewide election, in 1994, with 70% of the vote. He’s the grandson of baseball’s famed Connie Mack, who for 50 years owned and managed the Philadelphia Athletics. The former senator’s son, Connie Mack IV, is a third-term Florida congressman.
Related: Gov. Crist asks teachers to switch to GOP to vote for him in Republican Primary (Fla. is a “closed” primary state, in that voters must vote their party affiliation, and independents do not get a primary vote) http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crists-campaign-asks-teachers-to-change-party-affiliation-578491.html
Gov. Mitt Romney endorses Rubio; a reversal from 2006, when Romney, as GOP Governor’s Chairman, he hand delivered a $1 million dollar check to the Governor’s campaign: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/us/politics/18florida.html
Pres. Barack Obama’s first anniversary in office is celebrated with a Republican winning the Massachusetts Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy. At his weekend appearance on behald of the MA. Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, Obama poked fun at the “TRUCK” that Sen.-elect Scott Brown touted in his campaign as the “Everyman” of the people.
Brown says that in his phone call from the President last night after his win over Coakley, Brown has offered to bring the “TRUCK” by for the President to “check it out”.
That made me think a bit, and I remember during the “Cash for Clunkers” program this summer, I received a “tweet” from Marco Rubio, the Republican candidate for the Senate for Florida, who is challenging Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in that state’s primary. It seems that Rubio was traversing the state to campaign and speaking engagements in his “TRUCK”….. a Ford F-150, if memory serves me correctly.
I’m just sayin………………………….!!!
UPDATE: From the Marco Rubio Team:
Yesterday, Scott Brown pulled off a remarkable victory in Massachusetts, becoming the first Republican in almost forty years to be elected to the U.S. Senate from the Bay State.
What seemed unthinkable just weeks ago is now a reality – Massachusetts is sending a Republican to the U.S. Senate. And most importantly, he will be the 41st vote against the current health care bill and a voice for getting America back on a limited government track.
I want to thank you for answering our call to support Scott with your financial support and for urging Massachusetts voters to elect him as the 41st Republican in the U.S. Senate.
However, with this important victory behind us, we can’t stop at 41. We need more principled leaders willing to stand as a check and balance against the radical Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda.
Senator-elect Brown’s remarkable campaign in the bluest of blue states has reinvigorated those who believe Washington’s endless spending and government growth are incompatible with America’s proven tradition of putting our faith in individuals and entrepreneurs to create jobs and lead us forward.
And on the final day of President Obama’s first year in office, Massachusetts voters echoed what we have been witnessing in town halls, tea parties and voting booths across America, as engaged citizens have spoken in unison against Washington’s excesses. Just a couple of months ago, New Jersey and Virginia spoke out. Yesterday, it was Massachusetts. Soon, Floridians will get our chance at the ballot box.
In just seven months, Florida Republicans will have a similar opportunity to elect a nominee who will fight for the limited government principles that ultimately prevailed in Massachusetts yesterday. As I continue campaigning throughout Florida, I fully intend to earn your support and prove that ideas, issues and principles matter most in our political system.