Calling his old foe in the race for the Senate "a political opportunist of the first degree," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says former Gov. Charlie Crist will not succeed in beating current Gov. Rick Scott in his re-election bid.
Crist, who was a Republican when he served as Florida's governor from 2007 to 2011, became an independent in the middle of his race to become a U.S. senator. He has since become a Democrat.
Crist has said he didn't leave the Republican Party, but it, rather, left him. Rubio isn't buying it.
"Charlie Crist abandoned the Republican Party when he ran against me and the polls showed he was going to lose," Rubio said Monday on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto."
"He was a Republican up until late April — at least a Republican in name — as late of April 2010," Rubio said. "And the only reason why he shifted parties is because he couldn't win a primary."
Crist, an early favorite to win the GOP Senate primary in 2010, began falling in the polls to tea party candidate Rubio, so he dropped out and ran as an independent. He endorsed President Barack Obama's re-eleciton in 2012 and officially became a Democrat soon afterward.
Recent polls have shown
a tight race between Crist and Scott moving in Scott's direction. Rubio said that's because "even Democrats in Florida are a bit disgusted by Charlie Crist.
"I don't think they believe his conversion — or lack thereof — is a legitimate one, and they think it's all about positioning himself to win an office," Rubio said. "He'll be whatever he needs to be to win."
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