If, as widely expected, Crist announces Thursday afternoon that he's leaving the Republican Party to run for the Senate as an independent, a lot of donors are planning to ask for their money back.
Already, Republican senators have signaled their commitment towinning the Florida Senate seat for a fellow Republican, not for an independent -- especially one as truly unreliable as Crist, who infuriated conservatives recently by refusing to sign a bill that tied teacher salaries to student grades.
Georgia RepublicanJohnny Isakson. whose political action committee contributed $1,000 to Crist's campaign in June, has already written to the governor's campaign asking for arefund if Crist leaves the party. "I do my PAC to help support Republicans." And Texas RepublicanJohn Cornyn, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is charged with boosting GOP numbers in the Senate, plans to ask ask for a refund of the $10,000 from the committee's PAC. "I suspect you'll see a number of Republican senators ask for their money back," he said.
Even more damning, the conservativeClub for Growthsaid it planned a campaign to get all kinds of donors -- not just the big guys -- to ask for a refund. The group spearheaded a similar effort last year after Pennsylvania'sArlen Specterswitched from Republican to Democrat. Spokesman Michael Connolly told the Washington Times that that effort accounted for from $800,000 to $1.1 million in exiting funds from Specter's war chest.