Charlie Crist, the retiring Governor of Florida is running for US Senate in Florida. Only a year ago he was far ahead in the polls facing only token opposition from a virtually unknown candidate named Marco Rubio, the former Speaker of the House in the Florida House of Representatives. Rubio has since caught fire thanks to conservative organizations and tea party groups all over the nation and his polling numbers have surged. Recent polling numbers show Crist is no longer competitive in a GOP primary, but could maintain a slight lead as an independent. Chris is reportedly considering his options, but many of his highest profile supporters and donors are saying they will not follow him if he goes Independent.
If he abandons the GOP race, a group of his most prominent supporters indicate they will not follow him.
“I’m a Republican and I’m going to support the Republican candidate,” said John Rood, the state GOP finance chairman, a former ambassador to the Bahamas and one of Florida’s biggest contributors to Republican causes.
This is a problem that all high profile candidates face when they consider leaving a major party–party loyalty often trumps the individual candidate, for better or for worse.