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So much for that insurmountable lead. Those are the latest numbers from Rasmussen, which finds Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio tied at 43.
It's obvious that as Obama's popularity has plummeted among Florida Republicans -- and Floridians, period -- so has Crist's. Oh, how he regrets putting the words "stimulus" and "support" in the same sentence!
But all is not lost. After the jump, a list of five ways Crist can still win the race to be Florida's next U.S. Senator.
- Stick with what you know: being a moderate. You don't have a chance of convincing Republican primary voters that you're a more passionate conservative than Rubio. So go with your natural passion for ambivalence. It worked in the governor's race. It worked for your approval ratings. Stop back-pedaling on the Obama support; a moderate voter will understand how the stimulus seemed like a necessary evil at the time and how it's become an unspeakable evil in the past year.
- Blow your campaign stash. So what if half of it was bundled by Scott Rothstein? If you don't stop Rubio's momentum now, you never will. The kid's only got one, maybe two runs, and maybe with some well-placed campaign dollars you can get traction with the meme that Rubio has peaked too early and that his honeymoon with Republican fence-sitters is over.
- Grovel to Jeb. After winning the governor's race, you thought you'd never need the big guy again. You were wrong. Bush still has powerful friends. He's still adored by Florida Republicans. And he still hasn't given an endorsement. The longer you procrastinate this groveling, the more inevitable becomes his Rubio endorsement.
- If 1-3 fail, tell the world you're gay. I'm serious! Or half-serious -- because alas, this would never happen. But if it's July and Rubio's up eight points, it's the only game-changer in the arsenal. It would make an enormous splash in the national press, change the conversation in the race, and maybe it gets Republican moderates to the polls. Or if there's no sign of those trends in the week or two before the primary, throw the next Hail Mary pass: Enroll in one of those wacky programs for curing homosexuality, preferably one in the Panhandle. And ask the Christians to vote for your soul. (Note: This can also work if you are, in fact, straight.)
- The nuclear option: Run as an independent. It worked for Lieberman, who's enjoying his time in the Senate immensely.