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Tom Grady’

Crist campaign denies scrubbing GOP references from Web site

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 by George Bennett

When state Rep. Tom Grady, R-Naples, withdrew his support for Gov. Charlie Crist’s U.S. Senate bid Tuesday, he said the Crist campaign Web site appears to be telegraphing a Crist abandonment of the GOP in favor of an independent candidacy.

“This evening, as I reviewed your updated campaign website, I noticed a disheartening fact. Your website has eliminated all references to our Republican Party, or as you frequently refer to it, the party of Lincoln,” Grady wrote in a letter to Crist.

UPDATE: Our Mike Bender reports after using a data-monitoring service that no references to “Republican” have been removed from the Crist site. Grady hasn’t responded to a request to elaborate on his scrubbing claim.

There aren’t a lot of Republican mentions on the charliecrist.com site. But Crist spokeswoman Andrea Saul this morning denied Grady’s charge that GOP references have been “eliminated.”

Says Saul: “No Republican references have been scrubbed from our website, period.”

The “Meet Charlie” section of the site refers to Crist as a “common-sense conservative” without mentioning the R-word. And the “Voter Info” link refers to “the primary on August 24″ without specifying a party.

But if you look hard enough, there is some evidence on the site that Crist is a Republican.

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UPDATE: Another Crist pal jumps campaign ship

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist‘s campaign says his website hasn’t changed at all now that the U.S. Senate candidate is openly considering dropping out of the GOP primary and running as an independent.

“No Republican references have been scrubbed from our website, period,” Crist’s campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an e-mail.

Rep. Tom Grady resigned as Crist’s regional campaign chairman today and quit his finance team, citing the website that makes no reference to the governor’s GOP affiliation.

Grady, a Naples Republican who was elected to the House in 2008 at Crist’s urging, is the latest GOP ally to distance himself from Crist and his U.S. Senate campaign after Crist admitted he is considering abandoning the Republican primary race against former House Speaker Marco Rubio and running instead in the general election in November with no party affiliation.

“This evening, as I reviewed your updated campaign website, I noticed a disheartening fact. Your website has eliminated all references to our Republican Party, or as you frequently refer to it, the party of Lincoln,” Grady wrote in a letter to Crist today distributed to the media by Trey Communications.

Once a sure shot to win in the primary against Rubio, recent polls show Crist trailing the Miami Cuban-American by about 20 percentage points.

Yesterday, National Republican Senate Committee Executive Director fueled speculation that Crist would abandon the GOP race saying there was “zero chance” Crist would run against Rubio.

Things change,” Crist told reporters today when asked how he would explain to voters leaving the GOP primary after repeatedly saying he would not do so.

Grady was one of the few Republicans who attended the governor’s press conference at which Crist announced he would veto SB 6, the contentious teacher merit pay measure pushed by GOP leaders in the legislature.

Former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III, Crist’s mentor whose name the governor frequently invokes, withdrew as Crist’s campaign chairman after the veto Thursday.

Read Grady’s letter after the jump.
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