Hotline Sort: Political Party Switchers
TAMPA, Fla. -- Welcome to a Tampa-themed edition of Hotline Sort. Republicans try to help a Democrat in Maine's Senate race, Lingle sounds like a Democrat in Hawaii, Crist endorses Obama but doesn't switch parties (yet), this convention could get canceled, and Romney pulls into a (statistically-insignificant) lead in a pre-convention national poll. Here's today's Sort.
10) A new Republican super PAC called Maine Freedom is buying ads in Maine supporting Democrat Cynthia Dill's struggling campaign. The funny thing is, the super PAC is run by the top counsel for the Republican Governors Association. A party switch? Hardly -- Dill is lagging behind Independent candidate Angus King, the state's former governor who's winning support from most Democrats. Republicans are hoping that Dill will cut into King's support, lowering the bar for Republican Charlie Summers.
9) The Republican presidential ticket is talking about making reforms to entitlements programs, but their nominee for Senate in Hawaii is up with a television ad promising no changes to Social Security and Medicare. Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle also released a statement arguing she will "honor the promises we made to Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries and to those nearing that age."
Lingle faces Rep. Mazie Hirono in the November general election.
8) It doesn't sound like there's a lot of love between the GOP's convention keynoter, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. The New York Post reports that Christie decided not to pursue the opportunity to be Romney's running mate because he harbored doubts that the GOP presidential nominee could win. Team Romney told Christie that he would need to step down as governor if he wanted to join the ticket, something he was hesitant to do.
7) Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., is locked in a tough re-election race in a solidly Democratic state, but he's scheduled to be in Tampa on Thursday and may address the state's GOP delegation then, according to the Boston Globe.
6) Hurricane Charlie? Former Florida GOP Gov. Charlie Crist endorsed President Obama on ABC's "This Week" and with an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times Sunday. Crist isn't likely to move many votes in Florida; he lost to Sen. Marco Rubio in the 2010 Republican primary, and finished a distant second in a three-way general election after switching parties to run as an independent.
"As America prepares to pick our president for the next four years -- and as Florida prepares once again to play a decisive role -- I'm confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation," Crist writes. "I applaud and share his vision of a future built by a strong and confident middle class in an economy that gives us the opportunity to reap prosperity through hard work and personal responsibility."
Crist will speak at the Democratic convention next week in Charlotte.