April 18th, 2010
11:13 AM ET
12 years ago

McConnell weighs in on independent bid by Crist

Washington (CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that Florida’s Republican governor would lose the support of the GOP if he decided to mount an independent bid for Florida’s open Senate seat in this year’s election.

Once considered the favorite, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist now finds himself trailing in the polls against former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who has become a darling of conservatives in the past year. Crist and Rubio are set to face off in Florida’s Aug. 24 Republican senatorial primary. And Crist has denied any plans to cede the GOP nomination to Rubio and, instead, run as an independent in an effort to capitalize on his statewide name recognition and potential popularity with Democrats in the state. But rumors have persisted that he will abandon the GOP primary and set up a three-way battle between himself, Rubio, and Democrat Rep. Kendrick Meek in November.

Asked about Crist’s situation Sunday, the top Senate Republican said he was confident a Republican would win the Florida seat later this year.

“I think we’re going to elect a Republican senator in Florida and the Republican primary voters in Florida are going to determine who that is,” McConnell said on CNN’s State of the Union.

“Looks like Marco Rubio is running a very effective campaign and seems to have the lead,” McConnell said. “I’m going to be there behind the Republican nominee whoever that is.”

But McConnell’s view quickly changed when asked to weigh in on the possibility of an independent bid by Crist.

“He would lose all Republican support if he were to run as an independent,” McConnell told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • Marco Rubio • Mitch McConnell • State of the Union
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Crist should become an Independent and forget about the Republican party, they're being phased out anyway.

    April 18, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Arden Muller

    Gov. Christ: The one person you don't want to listen to is McConnell. Run as an independent.

    April 18, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. John

    Crist would do well as an independent candidate, certainly better than as a GOP candidiate, now that the GOP has been hijacked by the Tea Baggers.

    That said, in a three candidate race, the Democrats may just win.

    Time will tell.

    April 18, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Rich - Vero Beach, FL

    As a Florida voter I will not vote for a Republican as senator. I welcome Crist becoming an independent, he is not following to current beat of the Republican party; that is a definite plus. My choice would be between Crist and Meek and would go with the stronger candidate. The last thing this country needs is another Republican senator.

    April 18, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Russell

    Is Charlie Crist part of a trend? Jim Jeffords and Joe Lieberman...both Independents because their party didn't do it for them, and then Bernie Sanders, an Independent, and Arlen Specter switching parties...With Specter we'll see what PA thinks after the election. If Crist makes it as an independent, this will be a victory for the people (even though I won't vote for him), since the Founders never expected that we would have a two party system.

    April 18, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Mickey, NY

    McConnell is a political dinosaur, just like McCain...

    Anything he touches is doomed...

    April 18, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    running as an independant will guarantee a dmocratic win. Do it Crist

    April 18, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Gil

    McConnell is an ignorant dork, but from the democratic point of view I have to say I'm loving every bit of it. Go Independent Crist!

    April 18, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Annie, Atlanta

    Hobart – I don't think Republicans hate America, actually, I think they just hate most Americans. We can't bankroll their campaigns and lifestyles. However, corporations and big banks can. What I don't understand is how hard working patriotic Americans can actually vote for them, against their own best interests. They've nearly destroyed the middle class with their policies over the last 30 years. If we let them back in, they may just finish us off. Then where will the banks and corporations get the money to keep buying them?

    April 18, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. Victim of GOP Taliban

    The GOP is a party in chaos right now with all this petty infighting over who's the most right-wing instead of who's the smartest or most reasonable for the people they represent. So just because Crist took $ and shook hands with Obama he's a bad Republican? How pathetic and childish.

    April 18, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. mario

    I don't think anybody need his support antway, a such a liar,and hypocrite,, just like the others 41

    April 18, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. mary

    Gov. Crist, Please run as independent or, a Democrat, I am sure you will win !

    April 18, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. addon

    McConnell looks like "The Buzzard from Kentucky" I cannot believe the GOP has this duffus as the face of their party. Only the intellectually challenged and downright dummies would support this guy and his party of angry losers.

    April 18, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Perry

    The Republican Party doesn't support Charlie Crist now, let alone if he runs as an independent.

    I hope he remembers that when deciding what to do. Staying with the Republicans is a lose-lose situation.

    April 18, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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