April 19th, 2010
04:30 PM ET
5 years ago

National Republicans preparing to back Rubio

The executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee urged key GOP consultants Monday to persuade Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to forgo an independent bid for Senate if he withdraws from the Republican primary, CNN has learned.
The executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee urged key GOP consultants Monday to persuade Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to forgo an independent bid for Senate if he withdraws from the Republican primary, CNN has learned.

Washington (CNN) -– The top political strategist for Senate Republicans urged key GOP consultants Monday to persuade Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to forgo an independent bid for Senate if he withdraws from the Republican primary, CNN has learned.

Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, sent an e-mail to national political operatives just before noon in which he also predicted that Crist will decide not to compete in the GOP primary against former state House Speaker Marco Rubio.

“We believe there is zero chance Governor Crist continues running in the Republican primary,” Jesmer wrote in the e-mail provided to CNN by a Republican source on the condition of anonymity. “It [is] our view that if Governor Crist believes he cannot win a primary then the proper course of action is he drop out of the race and wait for another day.”

An NRSC spokesman declined to comment on the message.

Crist, the onetime frontrunner for the Republican Senate nomination, trails Rubio by double-digits in recent polls and must decide by the end of the month whether to run as an independent. The Florida primary is scheduled for August 24.

The NRSC has endorsed Crist in the GOP primary, but Jesmer emphasized in his note that the Senate Republican political arm is ready to stand behind Rubio’s candidacy.

Read the full e-mail after the jump:

From: Jesmer, Rob
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2010 11:35 AM
Subject: FL

Just a quick off the record assessment of where things stand in FL.

We believe there is zero chance Governor Crist continues running in the Republican primary. It our view that if Governor Crist believes he cannot win a primary then the proper course of action is he drop out of the race and wait for another day. We have communicated this message indirectly and would have given it to the Governor directly had he returned Senator Cornyn’s phone call.

Whether or not you supported our endorsement of Governor Crist, we all share the same goal of keeping the seat in Republican hands. To that end, if the Governor decides to run independent, regardless of any public commitments he makes regarding organization, we will support Marco Rubio in any way possible.

If any of you have influence with Governor Crist, we hope you will call his campaign and encourage him to do the right thing.

Thanks for your support of NRSC.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Rob


Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • Marco Rubio • NRSC
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Whitfield

    I think his actions speak clearly that he is not in tune with the conservative foundation of the Republican party. His support of bailouts and larger goverment initiatives clearly show a departure from the GOP in Florida and therefore he has no chance of wining against Rubio. Unfortunately, he is a prostitute for special interests and a lifelong politician. His nature requires he run and obtain a political seat at the money trough at any cost therefore if running as an Independent is his only option he will.

    April 19, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Ken in NC

    I would like to see the Gov. of Florida go Independent and beat out the Republican candidates. I admire his stand for what he feels is right. I do not agree with all of his positions but admire his unwaivering stand for what he believes in.

    April 19, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Mark

    Crist is a good man, but it is now Rubio's time to shine. Crist will be back another day.

    April 19, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. cspurgeon

    Cmon Charlie..Go independent and you have two votes from my house. You were a good Govenor and I want you in the Senate as a centrist.Don't let the Party shelve you in favotr of Rubio. We will not vote for him no matter what.

    April 19, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. OBS.

    Any reasonable thinking, normal, American loyal, Republican would certainly distance themselves from the bunch of lunitics that are calling themselves republican now. I think Gov. Crist could consider himself amoungst those few GOOD Republicans left on this planet and I would hope he withdraws and runs independant.

    April 19, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Barry

    Let him go! He has shown himself to be a coward in backing down from the teachers for political reasons and kissing up to Obama. The Dems need another joke!

    April 19, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Luke Brown

    Crist has been a good governor and a good Republican. He should run as an Independent or a Democrat.

    He is only the first of many that the right wing is trying to force out of the GOP. Others are not far behind. If you ask me Lindsey Graham should switch parties now rather than face a similar humiliation. He'd win if he ran as a Democrat in four years.

    April 19, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Mark

    Here is a good chance for the Governor to switch parties. Let the GOP go hard to the right. Let him join the Democrats or run as an independent.

    Call the GOP's bluff. I don't think the country want to take a hard right...well maybe the Klan wing, but not most.

    April 19, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. John, Sacramento

    Charlie cares about what is good for Florida....Rubio is running for the popular label, tea party, do nothing for anybody garbage. Hang in there Charlie....true Floridians will back you!

    April 19, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Johnny Salami

    The core of the Republican Party is now the Lunatic Fringe.

    April 19, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Nick

    Crist, along with Schwarzenegger – are the only 2 Republicans I would ever consider supporting.

    Crist had a positive effect on Florida and we all thank him for it.

    April 19, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. proud dem in nc

    The poor Repiglicans!!! Guess Crist just wasn't far enough to the right, for the party. He'll never pass the purity test, set forth by the racist, hate mongering, Zeig Heil tea bag bigots.

    April 19, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. LRon

    Crist should definitely run as an independent. The Republican party has become a party of nitwits and extremists. He shouldn't waste his time with them.

    April 19, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Justin

    I don't get why the RNC is getting all in a tizzy.. It is the Republican Primary we are talking about... It is not like there are any Democrats or Independants running for the GOP primary... Let him run, if he wins then he is the candidate, if he loses Crist is... To tell him he may as well quit because polls say so is just dumb... polls don't win elections, votes do.

    April 19, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Chris

    I am betting that the short of winning the seat outright, the Republican Party was happy that Joe Lieberman didn't "drop out of the race and wait for another day."

    The problem of course is the hipocracy! A few years ago the Republicans were giddy about the prospects of controlling both houses of Congress and the Presidency and having a "permanent majority." Now, they insist we need to have checks and balances! Which is it, boys?

    April 19, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Tom C in NY

    Why does Christ owe the backstabbers of his party anything? Why should he have to support the wingnut/teabagger faction of his party? If I were him, I'd stick it to the GOP and run as an Indy, like Lieberman, which is how he could actually win.

    April 19, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. John N Florida

    The crazy Right Wing is NOT the Republican Party. If Charlie wants to run as an Independent, I'll vote for him over Rubio any day. I've been a Republican since 1964. I still am.
    Where do you need the check sent Charlie?

    April 19, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. zig

    Republicans always eat their young....

    April 19, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Aviate

    GOP: No moderates or rational people allowed.

    April 19, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. Jim Bob

    A rare instance of a Republican with virtue.

    April 19, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. CBS

    Run Charlie Run – let them support Rubio – Centerist of both parties will support you.

    April 19, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. Independent Voter

    Looks like the Republicans don't want the people to have a choice on who to vote for. They are eating thier own!

    April 19, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. annie s

    Run as an independent, Charlie. That's the right thing – not the far right lunatic fringe thing, but the right thing for our state,

    April 19, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. Jin

    More bagger nonsense. Crist should give the Repugnicans the finger all the way to the election. If he has to go independent to beat this bagger then do it!

    April 19, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Felix_Colorado

    The GOP is started to unravel. They are not having a renaissance. If the Republicans continue to cut out their moderates, and they have very influential big money interest groups doing just that: then they're going to get creamed election time. Maybe by third parties that grow out of disgruntled moderates.

    April 19, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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