Arizona Sen. John McCain has endorsed Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in his bid for the U.S. Senate, adding to Crist’s list of top Republicans who support him.
“I was proud to have had Charlie’s support in my campaign, and I am proud to support him in his campaign,” McCain said in a statement.
McCain said he considered Crist as a vice presidential candidate last year before selecting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Crist’s endorsement helped McCain capture the key Florida primary over rival Rudy Giuliani.
Since Crist announced his decision last week to seek the seat being abandoned by Republican Mel Martinez, he has received backing from powerful Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, head of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Meanwhile, Crist received positive tidings in the first poll released since his decision to run for Senate.
A Mason-Dixon poll conducted for Ron Sachs Communications shows Crist with a commanding lead of 53 percent to 18 percent over primary opponent Marco Rubio, a former Florida House speaker. Rubio is trying to appeal to conservatives in his campaign against the moderate Crist.
McCain sought to boost the governor’s conservative credentials on economic policy. “Now more than ever, we need leaders who are committed to lower taxes, limiting government spending and fighting for the people,’’ McCain says in the statement.
“As governor, Charlie Crist has demonstrated his commitment to these fiscally conservative principles by delivering the largest tax cut in Florida history, reducing government spending and focusing on the issues that are important to Floridians.”
As for the poll, it also indicates Crist has a wide lead over the Democratic primary contestants. The poll shows Crist with a 55 percent-24 percent advantage over Rep. Kendrick Meek, and a 57 percent-22 percent lead over state Sen. Dan Gelber.
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