Primary may be a slam dunk for Crist, but Republicans will be watching closely

Margin of victory could be key for Crist

TAMPA - Charlie Crist greeted supporters in Tampa on Monday morning with more hugs than handshakes. Stopping to field questions from reporters, the perpetually sunny politician said he had no regrets for refusing to debate Nan Rich, his Democratic primary challenger.

"Listen, I'm running against $100 million. Rick Scott is what he is, and I've got to stay focused on that. And it's the right thing to do," Crist said.

There's little doubt Crist will win his primary race on Tuesday. The question is by how much.

"Fifty plus one and I'll be a happy man," Crist said.

And while the recently converted Democrat sets the bar low for himself, Republican state lawmaker John Legg, in the parking lot to defend Gov. Rick Scott, sets it high.

"I think Charlie has to get at least 80 percent. If he doesn't get 80 percent, it shows real lackluster enthusiasm for Democrats," Legg said.

Enthusiasm for Democrats is an issue. The two Democrats running to replace Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi have gotten very little traction and raised little money. Whoever wins, expect ads that highlight Bondi's opposition to same-sex marriage in Florida.

In this race and the governor's, GOP media consultant Adam Goodman said we should expect the tone of the campaigning to shift from issue-oriented to aggressively confrontational.

"I'm not even sure what the next word is beyond confrontational, but I'd warn to everybody in Florida, put your seatbelts on," Goodman said.

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