Gov. Crist gets another opportunity to take photo with Obama administration

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will get another photo op with a top administration official when Vice President Joe Biden visits the state Tuesday.

Biden will be at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola to examine efforts to counter the oil spill in the Gulf. Crist is scheduled to join him, according to a White House advisory on the event.

It's the second time this month Crist has gotten face time with the administration. He and President Barack Obama walked the beach at Pensacola on June 15, when Obama visited the state.

Crist is the governor of a state feeling the after-effects of the spill. Tourism, one of Florida's main industries, has suffered, and Crist has asked BP for money to help research the spill's effect on the state.

But Crist is also the Republican-turned-independent candidate for the state's Senate seat. Polls show him leading Republican Marco Rubio and likely Democratic nominee Rep. Kendrick Meek. The latest poll, by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, had Crist up by 11, leading with 42 percent to Rubio's 31 percent and Meek's 14 percent.

Crist hasn't said which party he'll caucus with in the Senate if he wins the seat. When asked, he's said: "I'll caucus with the people of Florida."

But both parties will be wondering who gets his vote. Crist was the chosen candidate of the Republican Party until Rubio sprang on the scene in a storm of Tea Party support. As Rubio's popularity grew, the GOP establishment swung his way and party leaders pushed Crist to drop out. Instead he switched to an independent bid.

The White House has said Meek is their candidate in Florida, but there have been questions about how much support the administration will offer the congressman, who's facing an increasingly tough August 24 primary against a wealthy, self-funding challenger. 

Biden and former President Bill Clinton have hosted fundraisers for Meek but Obama hasn't campaigned with him — at least not yet.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had called Crist to "wish him well."

It'll be interesting to see how the Democrats balance this delicate, three-way race.

More in Senate races

Florida Gov. Rick Scott eyes Senate seat

Read more »