When one considers that Stone is one of Crist's biggest boosters, this is pretty huge:
Florida Musical Chairs By Roger Stone Governor Charlie Crist's decision to run for an open seat in the U.S. Senate instead of seeking re-election as Governor has roiled the waters in Florida. Although Governor Crist is popular, voter reaction to a charge that he has "walked out on the job" before keeping his pledge to lower property taxes and cut insurance rates has not yet been determined. The Governor has not put forward much of a rationale for his candidacy; he most certainly cannot claim that there is nothing left to do in Tallahassee. Naked ambition is rarely an acceptable rationale for voters when politicians explain why they should be elected. Former House Speaker Marco Rubio has wisely announced his intention to challenge Crist in the Republican U.S. Senate primary. This is a no-lose proposition for Marco because losing with 45% would be a victory and winning with 51% would be a victory. Should Rubio bleed Crist badly, the young former Speaker will have lined himself up as the front runner for the Republican nomination for Bill Nelson's seat. If Rubio wins the primary in an upset, he will be even money against any Democrat. It is an article of faith among Florida Democrats that Alex Sink, the State elected CFO, will be the next Governor. I think they may be picking out their inaugural gowns a little too early. While Attorney General Bill McCollum has two statewide losses in his track record, he will easily wrap up the Republican nomination and will mount a better campaign than his previous efforts. Crist could be damaged by a "closer than expected" primary win. His broken promise to "make property taxes drop like a rock" and his failure to reduce insurance rates are even more powerful issues in the general election than they are in the primary. Crist can expect a level of scrutiny in the primary and general that is very unlike the way the media operated in 2006 when Crist was the darling of the conservatives running against former liberal Tom Gallagher. The media has soured on the "tanned one." Crist will also find fundraising more difficult. Between the federal limits and the restrictions on state officials raising federal dollars, it is unlikely that Crist will have the 3 to 1 spending advantage in a senate race that he had in his bid for governor. Congressman Kendrick Meek is an exceedingly weak general election candidate. Republicans in Washington are chortling about the opposition research that ties Meek and his mother, a former congresswoman, to corruption. Yet Meek maintains a strong base in the primary and could emerge handing an easier than expected victory to Crist. It is unlikely that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will let that happen and a top goal is the recruitment of a candidate in the moderate Lawton Chiles, Rueben, Askew, Bill Nelson mold. Particularly intriguing is the idea of a non-Cuban Hispanic candidate who could appeal to a growing Hispanic base within the Democratic Party. State Senator Dan Gelber, currently a candidate for the U.S. Senate, will probably switch to the open Attorney General's race if he is not named as U.S. Attorney for South Florida by President Obama. Crist could have walked to re-election as could Attorney General McCollum. Instead they both face difficult races and party leaders are petrified with the thought of losing the Governor's office after 12 years of Republican rule.