By reminding voters of Gov. Charlie Crist’s old positions, a new ad makes clear that the Florida Democratic Party does not want its voters to desert its U.S. Senate nominee, Rep. Kendrick Meek, to vote for Crist, a former Republican and now a no-party candidate searching for Democratic voters in the Senate race.
Crist, who left the Republican Party in April, has shifted many of his positions on social, economic and environmental issues to the left to try to convince Democratic voters that he is the only candidate who can beat Republican Marco Rubio. About 35 percent of Democratic voters have told pollsters that they will vote for Crist over Meek, down from about half during the summer. Gov. Crist, who has about a 50 percent approval rating statewide, has been seen as a more plausible winner than Rep. Meek, who consistently polls in third place.
In recalling Crist’s former stances, the Florida Democratic Party’s ad uses old clips of Crist praising President George W. Bush and then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and describing himself as a conservative Republican. It is reminiscent of an ad run by Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak in his successful Democratic primary against another party switcher, Sen. Arlen Specter.
Politico reports that the ad will be running in select markets across Florida, including the strategic I-4 corridor that crosses the state.
Meek has gained about 4 to 5 points in recent polls, but still remains in third place. The loser of this slight gain appears to be Crist, whose support has dropped from a tie with Rubio to trailing by about 10 points. The Florida Democratic Party is likely attacking Crist instead of Rubio because those voters remain persuadable to vote for Meek, while attacking Rubio would play into the “only Crist can beat Rubio” meme.
Luke Johnson reports on Florida for The American Independent.