As speculation mounts that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will leave the Republican Party to run for Senate as an independent, the Club for Growth is calling on Crist to return contributions from Republican donors if he does.

"Charlie Crist raised a ton of money last year because Republicans assumed he was one of them," Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said today, in a press release.  "In the fourteen months since Crist openly campaigned for President Obama's failed stimulus plan, the real Charlie Crist has emerged, and Florida Republicans have turned instead to a true economic conservative, Marco Rubio.  Given Crist's record as governor and candidate, it's no wonder he doubts he can win this primary."

Crist's GOP primary opponent, Marco Rubio, leads by an average of 29 percentage points in major polls. The Club is one of Rubio's more prominent backers; Rubio, in some sense, is a flagship 2010 candidate for the Club, which backs conservatives in their races against Democrats and moderate Republicans.

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