- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Senate’s top Republican on Sunday warned Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running for the U.S. Senate, to stay in the GOP primary or risk forfeiting all party support.

“My advice to him would be to compete as a Republican — he’s been a Republican all of his life — and remain within the party,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said on “Fox New Sunday.”

Mr. McConnell said he would be “troubled” if the governor ran as in independent.

“I think that would be a serious problem, and he would certainly not have my support and not have the support of any other Republicans that I know,” he said.

The moderate Mr. Crist, once a skyrocketing star in his party, in recent months has fallen significantly behind conservative Republican Marco Rubio in most polls for the open seat.

Mr. Rubio, 38, a former speaker of the Florida House, has picked up several high-profile GOP endorsements in recent days, including those of former Vice President Dick Cheney and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Mr. Crist, who has suggested that Mr. Rubio’s swelling popularity is why he is considering a bolt from the party, has until Friday to decide whether to remain in the primary.

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