Charlie Crist is going to need more than a Hail Mary pass to catch up to Marco Rubio in Florida's Senate race.
As reported by the St. Petersburg Times' Adam Smith, the Florida governor has blown his once-sizable financial advantage in the race, spending $7.4 million in the last two months. He entered October with just $1.4 million in the bank, according to a newly filed campaign finance report. By comparison, Rubio reported $5.5 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Democrat Kendrick Meek, who runs a distant third in the race, began October with $415,000.
This is beyond bad news for Crist, who led the race most of the summer but has seen his lead evaporate big time in the last six weeks. A CNN/Time Magazine poll out Wednesday found Rubio with a 14-point lead in the race, 46 percent to Crist's 32 percent (and Meek's 20 percent).
Rival campaigns had been worried that Crist might be on the verge of a big TV buy in the final week before Election Day. But unless his fundraising has dramatically turned around in the last two weeks, it's hard to see how Crist competes with Rubio, who has been spending at least $1 million a week on statewide ads this month.
Crist's only hope is that Democrats worried about a Rubio victory begin to defect from Meek to Crist. As The Upshot previously reported, a Public Policy Polling survey found that if Meek quit the race, Crist and Rubio would be virtually tied. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal, citing GOP sources, reported that Democrats might pressure Meek to quit the race, but Meek has insisted he will stay in until the end.
(Photo of Crist by J. Pat Carter/AP)