Running Strong

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If Democrats and their allies were waiting for the Tea Party phenomenon to peter out on the big occasion, they will have to wait longer. This week’s primary election returns suggest that hostility to the Democrats’ government-expanding agenda remains palpable, and that the Tea Party and its favored candidates are running strong.

Florida may be the best showcase for the movement’s momentum. The Sunshine State is a must-win for both parties and indications are that conservatives have the edge heading into November. Their fortunes hinge on Tea Party favorite and Republican upstart Cuban-American Marco Rubio, who overcame what was once dismissed as a quixotic campaign to capture the Republican nomination.

Rubio, who briefly served as Chairman of the Florida House of Representatives, became the front-runner when he ousted Governor Charlie Crist from the primary and the party some months back. Young and charismatic, Rubio is running on a platform to impose fiscal sanity on Washington’s wanton and spendthrift ways, a message with obvious appeal in a time of soaring spending and surging national deficits. Not only are there Hispanic Republicans, pace Harry Reid, but one of them stands on the verge of a major victory this fall.

A Rubio loss would have the same disheartening effect to the Tea Party, but there are several factors to suggest that won’t be the case. Although Crist led the race during the early summer, polls show that Rubio has edged out to as high as an eight-point lead ahead of Crist. Rubio also has the tide of populism on his side, while Crist is running as an incumbent in an anti-incumbent year. That voters are unhappy with the current rate of spending is also a negative for Crist, who as governor supported and even heaped accolades on President Obama’s lavish stimulus spending.

Rubio may also benefit from a surprise result on the Democratic side. In the Democratic primary, Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek overcame the deep pockets and television onslaught of billionaire real estate developer Jeff Greene. Meek’s win could be seen as a boon for Rubio, as Democrats and independents split over supporting Crist and Meek.

The Tea Party further flexed its muscle in another Florida race. In a bitterly contested battle, Attorney General Bill McCollum lost the Republican gubernatorial primary to Tea Party candidate Rick Scott, a billionaire health-care entrepreneur. (The tenor of the campaign was so rancorous that it’s doubtful McCollum will even endorse his former opponent.)

Scott’s nomination for governor has been called a blow to Republicans, with Democrats deriding him as a “corrupt health-care CEO” and sarcastically thanking the Tea Party for backing such a vulnerable candidate. But braggadocio notwithstanding, Democrats should be worried by Scott’s win. Given their shady and corrupt handling of health care, not to mention the billions in premium costs they have dumped on average insurance holders under ObamaCare, Scott’s background in the private-sector may well be viewed by Florida voters as a breath of fresh air.

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  • BS77

    Work hard for getting out the vote this November….for fiscal sanity and common sense.
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  • shery

    As a Floridian, I was disappointed with the choice of Scott. I'm not so sure he shouldn't be in jail. I hope what I've read about him [and I like to do my homework before voting] is not all true. I don't listen to campaign stuff. I like to find a source that gives facts so you can make a better decision. So after reading several articles about his dealings I was sorry that he was elected. I hope that he is not guilty of the charges. If he is, that will be a black eye for the "Tea party". We all need to read the small print more and not jump onto the bandwagon of everyone who claims to be "tea party" material. After all, it is Florida that has a few so-called "tea parties" that are nothing more than leftist groups trying to fake out the real thing.

    • JeanieinFL

      If Scott was as corrupt as McCollum is stating….McCoullum is the AG – charge and arrest him! How stupid! Scott has some of the greatest qualifications and that is what is needed to fix this healthcare stuff….not to worry, we'll keep him in eyesight and earshot.

  • JohnAdamSon

    Charlie Crist was a RINO and largely responsible for giving us RINO McTaco for '08 GOP Pres. candidate. His only goal is to remain on the U.S. taxpayer payroll and has sold his soul at another shot. Rubio will have this little piece of info to help expose the real Crist: Maoist Anita Dunn working on Crist's campaign. What does that tell you?! Crist is a closet liberal just like John McCain & will say and do anything to get re-elected.

  • Jim Johnson

    The importance of Scot and Rubio winning the nominations lies not in their virtues but in proving the Joe Six Pack the powerful Republican business establishment could be beaten.
    That means the public may be more willing to risk voting for some one who they think represents themselves more,rather than just a bunch of powerful business men.

    Too bad McCain (the war hero) could not have been bumped by Hayworth.

    I would then hope the three who campaigned against established candidates would, in the next election, be themselves be bumped by some candidates who actually did represent the public.

    It's the independent voter stupid.

    • JeanieinFL

      You are sooooo right! Florida DID beat the good ol boys system. Rubio and Scott are going to do just fine. We also have a chance at Col West and I know Bondi will be a great AG….WE need Rubio to push back on this left agenda and he will do just that…we need scott's expertise in the healthcare industry to fix this mess…..all is going to be ok.

  • sflbib

    The TEA Party endorsed Republican candidate for US senate for AZ lost.

    • kwg1

      There are dozens of Tea Parties in AZ. They all did not endorse JD. Many of the T parties have a no endorsement policy during the primary. I live here.

  • Wesley69

    The real race with be between Rubio, Crist and Meek for the Senate Seat. The Republicans must pick it up to win control of the Senate. Rubio must tie Crist and Meek to Obama and his Socialist policies. Tea Parties and the Republicans must unite behind Rubio. It takes a plurality not a majority of the vote. Hopefully, the Democrat's vote will split between Crist and Meek.

  • Wesley69

    The most interesting race will be among Rubio, Crist and Meek. One Republican and two Democrats. If Rubio can keep the Republican vote/Tea Party vote behind him, he can win a plurality of the state's votes which will win the Senate seat for him.

    • JeanieinFL

      There is no reason for Rubio not to keep and possibly gain votes. This man is the real thing…

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