Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Breaking: Republican party wants Crist to run for Senate!

The Hill, in a stunning development:

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) on Wednesday said efforts are ongoing to persuade Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) to run for his state’s open Senate seat.

On Crist's chances of running and winning:

Few Florida politicians can match Crist’s popularity and fundraising potential. The governor, a centrist who was elected in 2006, has denied any interest in running for the seat....but Cornyn, who has spoken to the governor about the race, suggested Crist may be open to persuasion.

There are three things that may yet compel Charlie Crist to run for Senate in 2010.

1. Crist may want to bolster his foreign policy credentials before the 2012 Presidential race. The Senate provides a better forum for that end. There are all sorts of important-sounding committees he can join. At the same time, he'd have to concede the executive resume that would accompany a second term in Tallahassee.

2. Crist may want a permanent, political gig instead of an ill-fated run for President. If Crist served out a second term as governor; then ran for President in 2012 and failed, he could damage his political currency at home. Any primary run would facilitate a shift to the right that may not play well among South Florida's snow birds. But as a Senator in a moderate state, Crist's moderate political disposition would virtually guarantee a plush seat in the nation's most distinguished chamber.

3. Florida could go to hell. This is both the likeliest and unlikeliest impetus for a run. Likeliest, because the state's sitting on a $2.8 billion deficit and a tough economy that will require a bloody Antietam to restore. Crist's indefatigable popularity may sink into Lake Okeechobee by 2010, making the Senate an Old Testament City of Refuge for a beleaguered governor.

This is also the most unlikely proposition. If Crist gives up on a failing state, his constituents won't be thrilled about rewarding him with a Senate seat. So the politics of the economy are more likely to keep him in Tallahassee, regardless of his popularity.