WASHINGTON (CNN) - The chairman of the Democratic National Committee suggested Wednesday that Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist could become a political victim of a “corrosive civil war” among Republicans. And Tim Kaine said that as moderate Republicans are pushed “overboard,” some of them will become Democrats.
Kaine spoke to a group of supporters at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, where the former Virginia governor detailed his party’s push for electoral success in the November elections.
Kaine also talked about the political situation surrounding the Florida governor. A GOP fundraiser tells CNN that Crist has decided to continue his senate bid as an independent rather than continue in the Republican primary against former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.
“They’re kind of throwing him out,” the DNC chairman said, referring to Republicans and Crist.
Kaine suggested that if Crist announces Thursday that he will run as an independent, as expected, it will be the result of an internal war within the GOP.
“The battle in the Republican Party between the Tea Party side of the party and the sort of moderate wing of the party is pushing a lot of moderates out and making them feel like they don’t have a home,” the Kaine said.
“But that’s what’s happening with this corrosive civil war within the Republican Party,” the DNC chairman added.
Kaine also said that his organization, which he described as the “big-tent party,” will see some benefit from Republican Party defectors.
“Some of them will become Democrats. Some of them will become independents. Some of them will become disaffected,” Kaine said.
As for other potential benefits for Democrats, Kaine said an independent bid from Crist would help Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meeks, who is also vying for the senate seat. Kaine sized up Meeks’ chances in a race with Crist and Rubio.
“The odds are that he would fare better in a three-way scenario, based on all the polling that I’ve seen,” Kaine said. “That immediately takes the race and turns it into a sort of a dead heat among the three candidates. And that will be real positive for our chances.”
RNC Communications Director Doug Heye told CNN that Democrats “need to address their own divides.”
“The Democrats lose members, we’ve seen, over the past 10, 12 years with some frequency,” he said. “There are significant divides in the Democratic Party that Tim Kaine is either unaware of or wants to ignore.”
Heye added, “If we want to talk about a party that’s shrinking, let’s have this conversation in November when…the Democratic numbers in the House and Senate have really shrunk.”