Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is There Still a Path to Victory for Crist?

You can never write off a sitting governor, but more and more, I'm just not seeing how Crist does it.

Right now, the main advantage Crist has is his cash on hand advantage. Even with Rubio coming close to matching Crist's most recent quarterly totals, there is almost no way that Rubio comes close to matching Crist, dollar for dollar.

And, as I've said before, money is crucial.

But what can Crist buy with his money? I'm not talking buying cable vs broadcast vs radio vs mail. I'm talking about what effect can he buy to change the dynamic.

He can't improve his name recognition - it's already effectively 100%.

Basically, all he can do is tear down Rubio. Former Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey tried that last November (with a similar cash advantage) and it nearly worked - he went from dead in the water to a loss that, while not exactly close, was better than a blowout (about five points).

A massive negative campaign could bring down Rubio's positives, but what generally does, is turn the campaign into a battle of the "bases" - and, as Steve Schale has pointed out, Crist doesn't really have a base.

I'll admit to being slightly baffled as to how Rubio became this outside darling - as a former speaker, he is a true insider and was once one of the most powerful men in the state. As speaker, no, he didn't compare to, say, Johnnie Byrd, as speakers go, but he was still the most powerful legislator in the state within recent memory.

But far from me to question how the zeitgeist moves. And it's moving Marco almost inexorably towards an August 24th victory.


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