(CNN) – Marco Rubio's Senate campaign announced Wednesday that 20 of Florida's Republican leaders have penned a letter to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist asking that Crist comply with any donor requests for refunds.
Crist announced last week that he will skip Florida's GOP Senate primary and, instead, run in the general election as a non-party-affiliated candidate. In the wake of Crist's decision, Rubio, the former Florida House Speaker, is expected to nab the GOP nod. GOP primary polls conducted prior to Crist's announcement indicated that Crist, once the favorite, was trailing Rubio by more than 20 percentage points.
Wednesday's letter slams Crist for deciding to abandon the GOP primary.
"As longtime and loyal contributors to Republican causes and your many campaigns, this letter is not easy for us to write," the 20 Republicans say, " But your actions have forced us to take action.
"We are both saddened and disappointed in your decision to abandon the Republican Party during this important election."
They added, "[f]or years we have put our names and credibility on the line by asking our friends to donate to you. Those days are over."
The letter goes on to ask that Crist "return every penny of donor money from every donor who asks for a refund," beginning with the individual contributions to Crist's Senate campaign made by signatories to the letter.
After noting that Crist has campaign war chest estimated at more than $7 million, the letter declares, "Charlie, that is not your money."
The letter ends with a request to all of Crist's Republican supporters to demand that their contributions to his Senate campaign be returned.
CNN has reached out to the Crist campaign for comment. The campaign has not yet responded to CNN's request.
Wednesday's letter is likely the leading edge of a larger effort to obtain refunds from Crist now that he has decided to continue his Senate bid as an independent.
Even before Crist's formal announcement, The Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group, announced its intention to help Crist donors seek refunds if the Florida governor left the GOP primary.
And, the day after Crist's announcement last week, The Club for Growth slammed the Florida governor.
"Every dollar in Charlie Crist's campaign war chest was dishonestly raised," the group's president Chris Chocola said in a statement.
In anticipation of Crist's announcement, the National Republican Senatorial Committee also said late last month that it would ask for its $10,000 donation to be returned if Crist decided to run as an independent.
Were they voting for the man or the party??? Guess their true colors are showing. They were only voting for the party. This is sad. I hope Charlie wins. Please God this state does not need a Mario Rubio!
Are donations gifts or are they purchases for votes?
Demanding the return of donations says one thing, and only one thing, loud and crystal clear:
"We were not supporting you because we felt you were the best person for the job, believed in your ideals and your policies and your principles and you past performance and that, overall, you were the best person for the job. None of that matters to us. No, we were giving you money and our support and our votes SOLELY BECAUSE OF YOUR PARTY AFFILIATION."
Pay the money back Charlie Crist that you stole from these people.
Nonsense. They abandoned him first. Nay, they didn't "abandon" him...the ostracized him as a heretic as part of their "party-loyalty, purification" inquisition.
Wanna play games? How about this? If the GOP is so confident in November 2010's results being a landslide in their favor yadda yadda, why do they need the money back? All this shows is desperation.
Hmmm. Sounds like they're really scared of this guy...
Crist should honor specific requests from specific donors. However, he should require very clear and personalized requests...not a list from the GOP. Largely, donors make contributions to a specific candidate who they believe in. Since they have the option to donate to a general fund for GOP senate or congressional candidates but, in the case of donations given directly to a campaign...there is the assumption that they specifically supported the candidate (in this case Crist) not his/her party affiliation (in this case the GOP), at the time that they made their donation.
Crist didn't take, they gave and now they want their money back. That's laughable. Last year i gave you $2,000.00 and now I want it back as if he held that donation seperate until it was time to spend it.
What will Republicans try next?
What part of "donation" do these people not get? Once you donate to a cause, you have no right to ask for your money back, regardless of the politics involved.
if Crist had lost the GOP primary to Rubio, they wouldn't have seen their cash, either. Tough luck, folks - unless you made GOPping a precondition of your donation, you don't have a chance.
In a word my reaction is "wow." Is this a gang or what?
I wouldn't give the money back. The contribution was to Crist, not the Republican party.
crist return the money to these repiglican son of witches and tell them to stick it where sun doesnt shine
If you "donate" you are giving money, good and services away voluntarily...there are no refunds.
It's sad that Republicans feel the party is more important than principle. If people donated and supported Crist, you'd like to think they did so because they believed in what he stood for. His values have not changed, even though the GOP's have and they are not trying to cater to the Tea Party crowd through Rubio. I'd say Crist is perfectly within his rights to deny any refunds, as he should.
why should he?! he was receiving those donations while he was running as a republican...now he's running as an independent, so it's ridiculous to force to return the donations if he was running on that platform! just another sneaky disgusting republican tactic to divert attention from REAL ISSUES..BUNCH OF HYPOCRITICAL HATEFUL CRY BABIES THE RIGHT WING IS!
I would just give the finger Charlie, just like they did to you when they crawled into bed with the teabaggers.
I think crist is just riding the independant ban wagon. many politicians think of nothing of the American People, Just by writing the word pig on a sheep he expects people to believe that it is really a sheep.
So they contributed to Crist because of his policies, because they liked him, but ONLY if he's a republican? Seems a little strange don't you think?
Yep, fun to watch the Repubs eating their own.........Charlie should have known better, listen to the Repubs and do their bidding they support you..........Have mind of your own & listen to the People you represent and the Repubs turn on you quickly...............
Charlie, not to worry, Rubio may be in jail prior to the election after the investigation is complete...................
Ha! It may be a closer race, but he's still going down. Looks like that hug cost him more than a senate seat, it cost him his dignity.
More party-first nonsense. Gov. Crist did not abandon the GOP...the Republican Party abandoned Crist and other moderate, independent Americans with its ridiculous quest for "purity" to the far right. It is certainly not the party of Lincoln and Goldwater anymore. Sad.
If it was not for guns and the right wing religion, would the republican party be able to garner votes from those who make less than $250 K? Thankfully for the Republican party, enough of the middle class Americans can be brainwashed to make the survival of the party possible.
dear republicans: for years many of us have put our names, credibility and well being on the line to vote for you. the party is over. please return all reppresentatives in washington, as they do not serve the best interest of the country any longer.
we cannot even trust you to do what's right; you have fallen in with some shady people (religious right/tea baggers) and have taken their limited intellect and 'values' to heart, thinking that the remaining sane americans also follow their dolus dogma. nothing could be further from the truth.
we want you to return your positions in washington to the people. we prefer to elect officials who will do something good for the country; and not simply refuse to legislate because you do not want our president or the country to succeed, or worse, because the ideas brought forth are not YOUR ideas and do not promote YOUR agenda.
we want you to realize we elected this president fairly, not like the previous president who had to have daddy's money and daddy's supreme court to win an election.
we want an end to this stalemate you think you are so smart to initiate, there seems to be nothing you can do for us; we want you to leave washington and let us elect someone who will take action.
we expect, dear republicans, you to empty your desks and leave now, find a REAL job and see for once what the rest of us deal with every day.
we DARE you to do this in the name of freedom and the american way.
ah, but you will not, i imagine, because none of you have the guts to live like regular americans, struggling on unemployment as you sit in washington and tell us unemployment simply encourages people to be lazy.
frankly, being in washington seems to promote laziness more than being unemployed.
Republicans in Florida need to quit whining and take their beating like men and women. Charlie is going to drub you and crazy Rubio in November.