Obamacare Helping Sink Crist's Chances in Florida

Image: Obamacare Helping Sink Crist's Chances in Florida

Monday, 25 Nov 2013 10:28 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Florida Republicans are optimistic that the Obamacare train wreck will derail Democrat Charlie Crist's campaign for governor as well as the new national healthcare law.

Former GOP golden child Crist, seeking to win back his old job, already is getting hammered by his adversaries about his unwavering support of President Barack Obama and Obamacare, the National Journal reports.

"As the Republican governor of Florida, Charlie Crist paid dearly for putting his arms around President Obama at a town hall touting the Democrats' economic-stimulus plan in February 2009," writes the National Journal’s Beth Reinhard. "The governor's chief rival for the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio, replayed footage of the embrace over and over, savaging Crist's conservative credentials."

And that embrace was pre-Obamacare, something sure to further erode Crist’s chances, according to Republican strategist Rick Wilson.

"The hug that crushed Charlie in 2009 doesn't even compare to the boa constrictor of Obamacare that will crush him in 2014," Wilson said.

The Crist-Obama alliance is a particular liability in Florida, where a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed only 40 percent of sunshine state residents approve of the job Obama is doing. Further marginalizing Crist is the announcement that Florida led the nation in job growth in October, a feather in the cap of GOP incumbent Rick Scott.

Under Crist’s tenure from 2007-2010, unemployment catapulted from 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent, while under Scott it has dropped from 11.1 percent to 6.7 percent in October.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry walloped Crist in a statement, the Miami Herald reports.

"Charlie Crist has said he would vote for Obamacare, supports implementing Obamacare, and that our country needs Obamacare," Curry said. "Now he's made it clear that he's running on Obamacare. He's been bragging about hugging President Obama and has made it clear he's hugging Obamacare.

"This government takeover of healthcare is something we can't afford, and Charlie Crist is someone Floridians can't afford to be governor again."

Crist’s popularity has taken a hit, leaving him and Scott neck-and-neck in their low-popularity ratings. Scott is seeking re-election despite 53 percent of voters saying he doesn’t deserve a second term, according to the National Journal.

Once a highly popular governor, Crist chose not to run for re-election in 2010 and instead sought the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Mel Martinez. Crist became an independent when Republican tea party favorite Marco Rubio began crushing him in the polls. Rubio ultimately won the office, and last year Crist joined the Democratic Party.

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