Rubio Holds Big Lead

Marco Rubio has an eleven-point lead over Charlie Crist among likely voters in Florida’s Senate race, and appears to be heading for a solid victory. It is noteworthy that 80% of Rubio voters say they are certain how they will vote in November, whereas only 45% of Crist’s voters say they’re sure they will vote for him, a finding that suggests Rubio’s lead is likely to grow.
You know things are going well when the Rubio campaign sends out an email, as they did a few days ago, warning against overconfidence. I agree; we should take nothing for granted. If you haven’t already contributed to Marco’s campaign (or even if you have), please go here and give him a hand.
Rubio was one of the first successful candidates who were associated with the Tea Party movement. Starting as a prohibitive underdog, he ran Charlie Crist out of the Republican primary. There is no secret to his success: he is a great candidate. Rubio is articulate, principled, dynamic; in my opinion, one of the most exciting spokesmen for the conservative movement to come along in many years. I interviewed Rubio in June and was, as I wrote, highly impressed. More important, Florida voters are impressed, too.
We have been cheering on the Tea Party movement and attending Tea Party rallies for some months now, so it seems rather weird for us to be cast, in recent days, as though we were on the other side of the fence. Marco Rubio illustrates, I think, an obvious point: ideology is important, but so is the quality of the candidate. Whether someone is a “tea party” candidate is secondary. Some such candidates, like Rubio, are great; others are not.
Political parties, meanwhile, are in the business of winning elections. Whether it makes sense for the Republican Party to nominate “tea party” candidates depends on how strong those candidates are. Some, like Marco Rubio, are great; others may be weak. We will find out whether candidates like Christine O’Donnell are in the latter category between now and November 2.

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