Charlie Crist Facing Conservative Rebellion

Tampa Bay Online:

Florida Republican Party circles are hearing increasing talk of conservative dissatisfaction with Gov. Charlie Crist, and a possible primary challenge if he runs for the U.S. Senate next year.

Crist’s high poll ratings, which muted such criticism early in his term, remain high, pollsters say, but are no longer preventing the talk.

Some conservatives, never happy with Crist’s emphasis on racial diversity, environmental regulation and populist willingness to take on big business, are now saying it openly.

“It’s the kind of disappointment that’s going to have people looking in other directions for leaders,” said former state Rep. Dennis Baxley of Ocala, now executive director of the Florida Christian Coalition. “The conservative movement needs a strong leader.”

Whether that will translate into tangible political opposition remains to be seen.

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