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GOP Civil War: Gov. Charlie Crist Furthers the Republican Divide

Expect the tensions between the party and the base to grow increasingly fervent.
 
 
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When Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) announced yesterday that he's running for the Senate next year, the Republican Party started feeling pretty good for a change. Crist, who enters the race as a favorite, gives the GOP a fairly good chance at keeping a key Senate seat, and sends a larger signal about relative moderates still feeling welcome in the party.

The party's activist base, however, has a far different take.

Uh oh -- the conservative backlash against the national GOP for its endorsement of moderate, stimulus-supporting Governor Charlie Crist in the GOP primary continues apace.

Top right wing blogger Erick Erickson of RedState.com is now calling for conservatives to stop giving money to the NRSC over the endorsement of Crist, who is running against conservative former House Speaker Mark Rubio.

Erickson denounced the NRSC's decision to endorse Crist as "wholly unacceptable," adding: "If the NRSC thinks this is smart, we must not waste our time or energy with them. Join me in pledging no money, no help, no aid, and no support for the NRSC's efforts in the 2010 election cycle."

In an apparent reference to rumors surrounding the Florida governor's personal life, Erickson later tweeted that NRSC support for Crist "will blow up in their face big time when the salacious stuff comes out."

Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal . His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."

 
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