Even though Charlie Crist has repeatedly denied talk that he would run as an independent, Hotline’s Reid Wilson reports today that top Republicans view this scenario as a “virtual certainty.” The speculation is fueled by Crist’s recent decision to pull TV ads directed at primary opponent Marco Rubio.
Privately, GOP officials have even tried to broach the idea that Crist drop out of the race. NRSC chair John Cornyn called Crist on Friday, intending to make it clear that Crist should drop out if he doesn’t believe he can win a party primary. Crist did not answer the phone, a source close to Cornyn said, and as of today Cornyn’s call hasn’t been returned.
UPDATE: CNN has an email sent by Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in which Jesmer writes:
We believe there is zero chance Governor Crist continues running in the Republican primary. It our view that if Governor Crist believes he cannot win a primary then the proper course of action is he drop out of the race and wait for another day. We have communicated this message indirectly and would have given it to the Governor directly had he returned Senator Cornyn’s phone call.