Washington (CNN) – Marco Rubio's campaign asked former Vice President Dick Cheney to endorse the former Florida House Speaker as part of a concerted effort to put pressure on Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and isolate him from fellow Republicans, a Rubio campaign source tells CNN.
On Thursday, Cheney became the latest prominent Republican to line up behind Rubio's Senate campaign in Florida, following recent endorsements by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, ex-Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York City mayor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. The source says more high profile endorsements are expected.
While one Republican strategist questioned whether Cheney will "get you any votes in Florida," the Rubio camp says the former vice president will help in the long term with conservative independent voters. But the source added that "no one is suggesting we are going to be on a bus tour with Dick Cheney in the last two weeks of the campaign."
The source also says the Rubio campaign is actively wooing Crist contributors, and donors are being strongly encouraged to warn the Florida governor that if he runs for the Senate as an independent, he loses their money and support, and any endorsements for any future political bids.
One Republican strategist cautions Republicans believe that Crist cannot win as an independent, and that he's only "a spoiler" in a hypothetical three-way race for the Senate, which would also include Rep. Kendrick Meek, the likely Democratic nominee in the contest.
If he runs as an independent, this GOP strategist adds, "then he's really done. He's a man without a country."