Not everyone in Northwest Florida plans to vote for Marco Rubio, a U.S. Senate candidate who has become the darling of conservative Republicans across the state.
Col. Bud Day, Fort Walton Beach attorney and Medal of Honor winner, has publicly endorsed Gov. Charlie Crist as his pick to occupy the Senate seat.
“I think he’s been a really good governor and shows all the possibility of being the same kind of good senator,” Day said.
The endorsement, issued Monday, comes as Rubio surges far ahead of Crist in most public opinion polls.
The two Republican candidates face off in an Aug. 24 primary for the Senate seat vacated by Mel Martinez.
The winner would likely face Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek in November for the right to succeed Martinez in Washington.
Rubio has successfully portrayed Crist as a willing partner with President Barack Obama in spending billions in taxpayer dollars through the federal stimulus package.
Day, however, said he questions Rubio’s “financial dealings” and views him as something of an Obama clone.
“You know, we just got through (electing) a politician who can run his mouth at Mach 1, a black one, and now we have a Hispanic who can run his mouth at Mach 1,” Day said. “You look at their track records and they’re both pretty gritty. Charlie has not got a gritty track record.”
Day confirmed he was speaking of Obama and Rubio.
“You’ve got the black one with the reading thing. He can go as fast as the speed of light and has no idea what he’s saying,” Day said. “I put Rubio in that same category, except I don’t know if he’s using one of those readers.”
Day said he questions Rubio’s spending when the former state House speaker was carrying a Republican Party of Florida credit card. He said the credit card use, widely reported in South Florida, has been ignored in this region.
“His financial dealings are a major issue with me,” Day said.
Rubio is popular in Northwest Florida, where Crist is widely viewed among conservatives as too moderate.
Day was also a strong supporter of presidential candidate John McCain, with whom he spent years in captivity in Vietnam at the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp.
Since his run for the presidency in 2008, McCain, like Crist, has fallen out of favor with conservative Republicans.
Asked if he thought his endorsement of Crist might be criticized, Day said, “I have no idea; it probably will.”
In a news release Monday, Crist welcomed the Day endorsement.
“I am more than honored to have the endorsement of Colonel Bud Day,” Crist said in the release. “Colonel Day is a true American hero who has served our country well, and I could not be more grateful for his support.”
Wow, "The Black One" and "one of those readers." Can you believe that Charlie Crist accepted this endorsement? If you can, you might be a redneck.