FL-Sen, FL-21, FL-25: Crist Cooking Up a Three-Way?

On Saturday, we wrote about the possible scenario being cooked up by Charlie Crist in order to lure Marco Rubio out of the Florida Senate primary — namely, that Crist would appoint 21st CD Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart to the Senate as a placeholder, creating a House special election that would be hard for young Rubio to turn down. It seemed like a bit of a stretch at the time, but there are signs that this may actually be pretty serious. First, from the Miami Herald’s blog:

Supporters of U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Miami say he’s seriously considering giving up his House seat to serve the rest of Mel Martinez’s Senate term. Gov. Charlie Crist said Friday that he’s on the shortlist.

“To my surprise, Lincoln is seriously considering filling out the questionnaire and putting his name in the hat,” said lobbyist/fundraiser Ana Navarro. “It’s a historical opportunity where he feels he can make a difference. He is willing to lose his House seat in order to serve the state of Florida in the Senate.”

But wait, there’s more! Much more, in fact. The new rumor on the blocks is that by moving up, Lincoln Diaz-Balart would leave his seat open not for Rubio, but for his younger brother, 25th District Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. The idea is that Mario is not enjoying the Dem-trending nature of his own district (it voted for McCain by 1% last year, and MDB himself only won re-election by 6%), and thinks that the 21st is more hospitable territory for the Diaz-Balart brand. I’m not so sure how wise of a move that would be — the 21st isn’t all that more GOP-friendly than the 25th; LDB’s district went for McCain by 2%, but he crushed highly-touted but highly flawed Dem nominee Raul Martinez by 16 points during the same election. The theory, then, is that Marco Rubio would be free to run in the adjacent 25th District once MDB successfully swaps seats. More from the Miami Herald:

Because Diaz-Balart’s name did not surface immediately when Martinez announced he would quit, the prospect of him seeking the appointment — and that his brother, Mario Diaz-Balart would run for his more Republican-friendly seat — is creating political upheaval in an already topsy-turvy election cycle. That would leave Mario’s seat open, possibly for former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is considered a longshot against Crist for Senate. (Both Mario and Marco would have to move.)

“I would urge Mario to run for the seat because of the changing demographics in his district,” Navarro said. “It’s adjacent to his district and has the same issues but has a much stronger Republican base.”

This is a pretty crazy game of pinball that Crist and the Diaz-Balarts may or may not be attempting to rig. I would have to grudgingly tip my hat to the Governor if it all fell perfectly into place, but of course, there’s also the risk that something this complicated could blow up in everyone’s face.

As Samuel L. Jackson once said, hang on to yer butts.

UPDATE: Straight from the horse’s mouth:

U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart said today he is “seriously considering” seeking the vacant U.S. Senate seat.

RaceTracker Wiki: FL-Sen | FL-21 | FL-25

9 thoughts on “FL-Sen, FL-21, FL-25: Crist Cooking Up a Three-Way?”

  1. In order to save his own ass of an expensive primary, Governor Crist is contemplating appointing Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who will then vacate his seat for Marco Rubio to run in. But actually Lincoln may not be vacating for Rubio, but for his younger brother Mario who may have a better shot at winning in 21 than 25, the latter seat will then go to Rubio.

    I thought nothing could top the Florida Recount in 2000 in terms of ridiculousness, but this is giving it a run for its money. Man, my head is spinning!

  2. The American people can smell bullshit a mile away and this is only one HUGE incentive for Manny Diaz to run.  (Mayor of Miami, people on SSP have mentioned him several times as a challenger.)

    And the total oddity of a Congressman running in a special election for a neighboring district that his brother opened up for him.  That shit will never fly.

  3. I mean, I don’t really think we have a legitimate shot at that Senate seat with Crist in the race anyway.  

    I don’t think Rubio will beat him in the primary and I don’t think Meek is going to be able to pull it off even if Crist does tack to the right for the primary.  

    However, I think the Diaz-Balarts are in this for themselves.  Lincoln will use this as an opportunity to run around the state and gain seniority to use against Nelson…Mario will get a new seat thats a little bit safer for him…

    The Democrats though, I’m not sure Rubio can win that seat.  We may just get a house seat out of this idea for nothing but the price of running an open seat race.  

  4. Would be nice if this causes the Republicans similar headaches to the mess the Dems have in Pennsylvania. What are the chances Manny Diaz gets in? Does this actually reduce the odds or enhance them?

  5. It seems like he would just have to wage two campaigns in one cycle rather than one – one to win the special election in FL-21, and then to hold the seat again in Nov 2010. Although – if he loses the race for FL-21, he isn’t immediately out of FL-25, but I would say that if he can’t win a special election for a slightly more Republican seat, then he can’t win his own seat either. I can’t think of an upside for him.

  6. The only thing crazier than the idea that the parties involved trust each other enough to pull off something like any of these plans would be if….say…Charlie Crist wins the Senate seat in 2010 and then comes out and switches parties.

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