Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), the former Republican now running for Senate as an independent, picked up the support of a big Democratic name yesterday: Former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), the self-proclaimed “fire-breathing liberal.”
“There is a special time in which elected officials and people to which people look to have to put country before party and this is one of those times,” Wexler told a campaign audience in his old district. “I am here to endorse Gov. Charlie Crist because he has earned it. He has truly earned it.”
As reasons for his support, Wexler cited Crist’s veto of a bill that would have eliminated teacher tenure — a key event that sealed Crist’s switch from a Republican to independent — and his veto of another bill that would have required women seeking abortions to get ultra-sounds.
There is, of course, another key issue that hangs over this race — electability against Republican Marco Rubio, and the splitting of the Democratic vote. Wexler’s support came at the same time as a new Mason-Dixon poll showed Crist bleeding Democratic support to the actual Dem nominee, Rep. Kendrick Meek, thus aiding Rubio on a split anti-Republican vote. The TPM Poll Average gives Rubio 40.0%, Crist 29.5%, and Meek 22.1%.
As such, support from Wexler and other big-name Dems could possibly help Crist marginalize Meek and become the de facto actual Dem nominee. Will it work in time for election day?