The Upshot

Crist’s GOP donors aren’t rushing to support Rubio

Holly Bailey
The Upshot


Republicans threw a fit when Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who'd dropped his GOP affiliation to mount an independent Senate campaign, refused to return contributions he raised from donors to his initial Republican campaign. But it appears that not many of Crist's donors were all that interested in giving to Crist's  GOP rival — and likely Senate nominee — Marco Rubio.

The Orlando Sentinel's Scott Powers dug through campaign filings in the race and found that only five of Crist's donors who gave more than $200 this election cycle have subsequently transferred that support to Rubio. According to Federal Election Commission filings, Rubio has raised just $6,340 from donors who also gave to Crist.

Of course, the Florida GOP can still argue that Crist's donors couldn't afford to give to Rubio because they'd already written a check to Crist. But it's more likely an indicator that people who supported Crist, a moderate, probably don't feel as passionate about Rubio, who positioned himself to the right in the race early on. Back in May, 20 GOP donors signed a letter urging Crist to return contributions — a message that Rubio and the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee have also echoed. Since then, Crist has offered only two refunds — $9,600 in contributions from indicted ex-Florida GOP chair Jim Greer and his wife.

If it's any consolation to Rubio et al., they're not the only ones whom Crist is siphoning cash from. Lately, Crist has been peeling off donors to Democrat Kendrick Meek, as Democrats hedge their bets between the Florida governor and the congressman, who faces a tough primary challenge this Tuesday. According to Powers, nearly 100 donors have given to both Crist and Meek this election cycle, totaling up to $222,000 for Crist, and $164,000 for Meek.

(Photo of Rubio and Crist by Phil Coale/AP)

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