From the September 13th addition of the St. Petersburg Times:
"It's rare that I talk to anyone that's got a good thing to say about the governor right now. It's hard to find a real Charlie Crist ally," said former state Republican chairman Tom Slade. "Charlie Crist is a marvelous politician, but rarely do you use the word statesman with Charlie Crist. That's his vulnerability, getting branded as another self-centered politician, and he doesn't have many more opportunities to muff up before that happens." ...
His state is losing population for the first time in 60 years. Unemployment and foreclosures are soaring. Taxes haven't dropped like a rock as he promised, and Florida remains one hurricane away from bankruptcy. County Republican parties are openly revolting against Crist, while a charismatic young rival, Marco Rubio, is being hailed on the cover of William F. Buckley's National Review magazine as the future of the GOP. ...
The polls don't show it yet, but warning signs abound for Crist. Local Republican executive committees and clubs in every corner of the state are holding symbolic "straw poll" votes where Rubio doesn't just beat Crist, but consistently trounces him 8- or 9-to-1.
Three things have brought the Florida Republican Senate race to this point.
First, Charlie Crist, generally considered a (very) liberal Republican, angered the base by embracing President Obama and the president’s highly unpopular Stimulus Bill. Bad has gone to worse for the governor as unemployment has risen in the state and Crist broke his promise not raise taxes on already cash strapped Floridians.
Second, Marco Rubio showed up on the scene as Crist’s polar opposite Rubio, the former Speaker of the Florida House is a staunch conservative who fires up the base at every event he attends. In addition to his conservative credentials, he is young, photogenic and unbelievably well spoken. He connects with “the people” because he intuitively knows how to talk to people without talking down to them-a refreshing quality in a politician.
Third, in a huge miscalculation, the NRSC came out in favor of Crist right out of the gate. Sadly, many in the Republican party leadership do not seem to understand how unhappy the base is with them. By backing a candidate prior to the primary, the NRSC cemented the feeling among the base that the ‘street level’ Republican doesn’t count.
This is being played as an ‘upset in the making’ but as a member of the base, I don’t know anybody who is upset by the notion of ‘Senator Rubio.’