The seat, currently occupied by outgoing Republican Senator Mel Martinez, is up for grabs, and Crist may represent the GOP's best chance for keeping it red. Even if Crist crossed party lines last February to endorse President Obama's stimulus package.
It's all about working together, Crist says
"Here in Florida, we've shown that when we put people first and work together much can be accomplished, and I intend to bring that same approach to Washington," Crist said in a statement announcing his run.
But that approach doesn't work according to his primary opponent, House Speaker Marco Rubio -- who you could call the anti-Crist. (We're here all week, try the veal).
Only hours after Crist's announcement, Rubio's campaign released a web ad which previews one of the ways he'll try to differentiate himself from the popular governor.
"Some politicians support trillions in reckless spending, borrowed money from China and the Middle East, mountains of debt for our children, and a terrible threat to a fragile economy," speaks the breathless announcer. "Today too many politicians embrace Washington's same old broken ways."
Pause for effect.
"But this time, there is a leader who won't. Let the debate begin."
“While I believe Marco Rubio has a very bright future within the Republican Party, Charlie Crist is the best candidate in 2010 to ensure that we maintain the checks and balances that Floridians deserve in the United States Senate," Cornyn said in a statement.
Polls look good for Crist too. A Quinnipiac poll from April 15 shows the governor enjoys a 66 percent approval rating.
"Gov. Crist's approval rating remains not just lofty but lofty across the board. In fact his disapproval among Republicans, although small, is worse than his disapproval from Democrats and independent voters. He is also the unusual politician who has no gender gap," said Quinnipiac's Peter Brown.
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