The Toughest and Most Important Decision

For me, the toughest and most important decision I have to make by November 2 is who to vote for for U.S. Senate. 

As a Democrat, I’ve ruled out Marco Rubio.  My choice is between Charlie Crist (the charismatic Republican-turned-Independent Florida governor) and Kendrick Meek (the relatively unknown Democrat who represents a liberal east-coast district in the U.S. Congress). 
Charlie Crist

The real issue is: which candidate has the better chance of beating Republican Marco Rubio?

While many of my Democratic friends already support Crist, I am urging them not to vote until Election Day, when we’ll have the most up-to-date information on who’s ahead in the polls.  

Waiting also gives us time to do some research and watch what unfolds on the campaign trail.  Anything can happen!  We need the best information we can get to put our vote to best use. 
Kendrick Meek

To begin with, I’m asking: where does Crist really stand on the issues that are important to me? 
he New York Times page on Charlie Crist was my first stop.  Of note:

“…. Mr. Crist has … a reputation as something of a hard-liner on law and order issues. He supports the death penalty, largely opposes restrictions on the rights of gun owners, early on earned the nickname “Chain Gang Charlie” because he favored allowing convicts to be used in road work, and has described himself as a “pro-life and pro-family” candidate. Mr. Crist also pushed for a new law aimed at providing low-cost health coverage to the uninsured by allowing the sale of stripped-down insurance policies.

But while Mr. Crist called himself a “Jeb Bush Republican” on the campaign trail for governor in 2006, he proved a far different leader than his highly ideological predecessor. He created an Office of Open Government and installed solar panels on the Governor’s Mansion. Some of his biggest proposals — to abandon touch-screen voting machines, for example, and let most felons easily regain voting rights after prison — were almost like a finger in Mr. Bush’s eye.

In the 2008 presidential election, Mr. Crist endorsed Senator John McCain in the Florida state primary. He was rumored to be a possible running mate, as one of three officials who was invited to Mr. McCain’s Arizona ranch for Memorial Day weekend interviews.

In recent months [this piece was last updated in July], Mr. Crist has tacked to the left — vetoing a bill derided by unions that would have tied teacher pay to test scores, as well as a measure that would have required most women to pay for an ultrasound before getting an abortion – but faces skepticism for his motives.”

This gets at some of my concerns: hard-liner on law and order issues; supports the death penalty; largely opposes restrictions on the rights of gun owners; self-described “pro-life and pro-family” candidate; endorsed John McCain in 2008.

In future posts, I’ll look at each of these issues in more detail.  In my next post, I’ll look at health care reform, a really important issue for me, as readers of my my health care blog know.
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