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

National Republicans preparing to back Rubio

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/19/art.crist0416d.gi.jpg caption ="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.


Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • Marco Rubio • NRSC
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Off the record?

    Oh, my bad. It is CNN. I can't tell the difference between CNN and MSN. They all support this administration blindly.

    April 19, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. VnVet

    What criteria is used to "Close Comments" on an article???
    Some items are "closed" after 7-8 comments while others have 200+ before it is closed. What gives?????????

    April 19, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Fair_is_Fair

    I hope Crist runs as an independent. We need middle of the road leaders that are not influenced by the WACKO Tea-Party kissing republicans. He's a conservative I can back and I am an independent. Stand Strong Charlie....go independent, there is more of us to vote for you. Rubio is too far to the right.

    April 19, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. GR

    Charlie, if you run as an independent you can count on my vote. Go Charlie Go!

    April 19, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. R. Wood

    Apparently, Republicans now feel the electoral process is an unnecessary waste of time. In lieu, of primary elections, a handful of ideologues will just pick the "right" candidates.

    April 19, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Derrick77

    This is really sad. Because Mr. Crist is man enough to potentially negotiate with those who have opposing views in order to try to resolve problems, the Republican party doesn't want him to campaign for election in any form. I do believe he would win the senate race in Florida if he runs as an independent, mainly because when you subtract the hardliners, Floridians are generally center/right like Crist. But I guess it's not a good thing for the GOP to have someone who will attempt to represent the majority of their constituents if elected to office. Sad, sad, sad.

    April 19, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. JonDie

    More independents in the Senate would be a good thing. Run, Charlie, run!

    April 19, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. kem

    He should run as an independent, because he truly is . All this negative feedback from the republicans because he chose to put the needs of his people first by accepting assistance from the president for his state and shaking his hand ??? Stay true to who you are Gov. Christ, and remember a that republican with a heart and conscience that puts the needs of his people over his own truely is an independent. Today's republican has none of those traits.

    April 19, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. sd

    Christ has far too much class to stay in the Republican party as it is today. I hope he runs as an independent and HE WILL WIN.

    April 19, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Simon-Orlando

    Either way Crist is going to get his butt kicked. Vetoing the teachers compensation reform bill will put him out of business.

    April 19, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. Joe in Los Angeles

    Crist should run as an Independent. It's his independent choice to do so if he pleases. The Republicans will abandon him anyway; the way they abandon anybody who doesn't see the world as they do.

    April 19, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Harry Baxter

    Charlie Crist is an empty suit. Marco Rubio, on the other hand, is a right-wing zealot, who is no different from the other GOP wingnuts in the US Senate. Given the choice. I'll take the empty suit every time. As a Florida resident, it's apparent to me that anyone who would get excited about baby Marco has obtained all of his information from the GOP "Fair and Balanced" network, and hasn't taken the time to investigate his background, and his total lack of accomplishment.

    April 19, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Vic of New York

    Sounds great. Florida can use a quack like Rubio!

    April 19, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    In my less than humble opinion any National (insert party name here) (insert office title here) Committee should never endorse any candidate until after the people have spoken either in their archaic party Caucus (ok, we call it a convention here in CT) system or by a party primary. Only after the PEOPLE have spokes should the committees provide endorsement. Otherwise it looks like a bunch of outside agitators stirring up the local political stew. If the majority of Republicans in Florida want Charley Crist to be their Sentate candidate then so be it. If the want Marco Rubio then so be it. Until they decide in the Primary, the national committee shoudl back off! If I were Crist, I would stay in the race until either he or Rubio have to offer the other a concession speech. Now here is the real question – who will the NRSC support if Crist wins the Primary? That is why they should keep quiet until the PEOPLE have spoken!

    April 19, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Gino

    Take it from a Floridian: Rubio is a crook. And therefore he would make an appropriate nominee for the Republican Party as we now know it. He spent money (not his) like water on himself and his cronies. He got caught but is shameless about it.

    April 19, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. ColoDem

    So, they are bucking the true republican to put in the backed false republican that is tied with the "tea party"? Wow the repubs are in worse shape than i thought!!!

    April 19, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. cardog

    Now I'm not saying that the Democrats would'nt do the same thing to one of it's own, I am saying that this is the culture of the Republican party. This political group reminds me of a wolf pack. They can run together as long as they all think the same. Should you drift from the common mind think, they will turn on you in a "New York Minute".
    I'm still waiting for the Republicans in mass to turn on Richard Steele.
    Most diod not want him in the first place and it will only take a major defeat or down-turn in the party for this to happen.
    I again warn my fellow Americans who are use to simply standing by while events pass you by....We cannot let these people return to power in this country. The likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin and now extremely dangerous, Michelle Bauhman should tell you this clearly.
    For the life of me I cannot digest/understand why Minnesota would send the likes of Ms. Bauhman to congress. This woman to me is a pure example of what hate is all about.

    April 19, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. FL Voter

    Proof from Washington: Rubio is definitely not the "outsider" he purports to be (never really was).

    Through ironic karma, the NRSC has apparently become the brunt of its own fear tactics. GOP hierarchy is scared of the prospect of Gov. Crist running as an independent, which the recent poll shows Crist would win in November if chooses to forego political affiliation.

    A candidate running on their own merits–what a concept!

    April 19, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. Dan Sczepanski, New York

    Now I know that the Rupuke-licans have lost any sense of reality and want to revert to the Herbert Hoover days.

    April 19, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Devin

    So the Republican party's stance is that if he not run as a Republican, he wait for another race to run in? Gosh, that sounds fair...

    April 19, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. vette gal

    Too bad, he's one of the few moderates in the GOP that actually puts the good of the people he represents before his party or himself. I would like to see him withdraw from the GOP and run as an independent. Personally, anyone that the National GOP recommends, I would vote against.

    April 19, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. ray

    i am one behind you gov.............., leave this racists , obstructionist, say no to everything party. the people on the right are just anti obama for everything.

    April 19, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Eddie B

    Its funny how Crist was a prominent Republican during the Presidential Campaign when he was against Barack and now they want him to step aside, so a more right wing conservative can run. He should run as an Independent because he is well liked and a moderate. Now the GOP has no room for moderates. It is ridiculous!!!!

    April 19, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. will

    Support Rubio even if it means selling your soul. Great to be an American these days!!!!

    April 19, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Chad

    Good, they can all leave and take the Democrats with them. Our country needs less of both political parties and needs a new party committed to spending less and making smaller government.

    April 19, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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