Jeff Kottkamp Crosses the Boss: Supports Marco Rubio, Drops Charlie Crist
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Even though Gov. Charlie Crist hand-picked him to serve as his running mate in 2006, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp on Wednesday endorsed Crist's chief opponent in the U.S. Senate race, former House Speaker Marco Rubio.
Rubio is running as a Republican, while Crist left the GOP back in April to continue his campaign as an independent. Kottkamp is running against former Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi and former Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Holly Benson in a close battle for the Republican nomination for attorney general.
“Today I announce my endorsement of Marco Rubio to be Florida’s next United States senator,” said Kottkamp.
Using the endorsement to reinforce his conservative credentials, Kottkamp made a pitch to Republican primary voters who remain largely undecided in the attorney general contest.
“This endorsement should not be a surprise to anyone,” said Kottkamp. “As conservative Republicans, Marco and I share the same principles – faith, family and freedom. Never before have those beliefs meant so much.”
Kottkamp, who served with Rubio in the House, used the opportunity to attack Crist for backing President Barack Obama.
“I cannot in good conscience support a candidate who will go to Washington and push for passage of the Obama agenda,” said Kottkamp, who has criticized the Obama administration on a number of issues, ranging from new federal health-care laws to budget cuts to NASA . “Too much is at stake in this election and I’m proud to say I support Marco Rubio.”
Kottkamp added he is aware this will change his role in the Crist administration.
“My decision to endorse Marco will undoubtedly impact what's left of my working relationship with Gov. Crist, although since he left the Republican Party in April, he and I have not spoken,” said Kottkamp. “This election is much bigger than personal relationships – it’s about the future of our country.”
Kottkamp’s pitch to undecided voters and his endorsement of one of the most popular Republicans in Florida can help the lieutenant governor’s bid for the attorney general nomination, which remains a close contest.
A Voter Survey Service poll, commissioned by Sunshine State News and released on Wednesday, revealed that 55 percent of the Republicans polled have not made up their minds who they are backing in the Aug. 24 primary. Kottkamp pulled 17 percent, Bondi 16 percent and Benson took 12 percent. The poll of 1,345 Republicans was taken from July 26-30 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.67 percent.
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