Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 12:22 p.m.
To hear some tell it, the Republican senate primary between Charlie Crist an Marco Rubio isn't just about Florida Republicans deciding which candidate is better suited to represent Florida in the highest legislative body in the land, but rather an epic battle for the very heart and soul of the GOP itself.
Those political dramatists should have picked a better battle. Rubio, the little known former state House speaker who apparently represents the hopes of hardline conservatives everywhere, has raised a mere $340,000. While Crist, the well known and well liked Governor and embodiment of the happy to appease, genial moderate Republican is expected to have raked in more than $3 million in his first quarter (don't be too shocked if it turns out to be more, much more).
The fact that Rubio's haul, despite announcing his campaign intentions well before Crist, is about 1/10th of the Govs even has some of his supporters wondering if he'll actually be able to pull together a viable campaign. It doesn't help that at this point in his campaign he's raised less than Katherine Harris did in 2006.
"He's got to raise a lot more to make the race something he can win," David Keating, executive director of the Crist-hating Club for Growth told the St. Pete Times
. "If he can get to the $4 (million) to $5 million range, then I think it's a doable race. I don't know if he's on track or not."
He's not. In the 2004 race, by this mark eventual winner Mel Martinez had $1.7 million in his campaign pockets. Mark Foley --before it came out that he had sexy time emails with teenage boys-- has $700,000. The only viable Republican candidate at that point who had less than Rubio does now was Bill McCollum with $330,000. Of course, McCollum later emerged as Martinez's only primary competitor, but still ended up loosing to Martinez in a 45%-31% defeat. Though at that point, McCollum had better state wide name recognition as the Republican's senate candidate in 2000.
Meanwhile, the ill-fated Katherine Harris campaign has about $400,000 cash on hand at this point in 2006.
At this point, Rubio better be praying that Crist gets caught in a sexy time email scandal of his own.