Club for Growth turns to Florida, runs ad against Charlie Crist

The Club for Growth took a major step Thursday toward backing Marco Rubio in Florida’s GOP Senate primary, launching an ad against Gov. Charlie Crist.

The ad criticizes Crist for saying this week that he didn’t, in fact, support President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Russian social media is the modern-day Trojan horse Trump records robo-call for Gillespie: He'll help 'make America great again' MORE’s stimulus plan.

“Since Charlie Crist helped pass Barack Obama’s spending program, nearly 200,000 Floridians have lost their jobs,” the ad states. “Unemployment is the highest in decades. Personal income’s down. And the deficit in Washington is three times larger.”

The ad is not yet on TV but is slated for an ad buy, a Club spokesman said.

Crist has taken heat from conservatives for holding an event with Obama during the stimulus debate and hugging the president. The ad shows him standing next to Obama at that event and saying it is “important that we pass this stimulus package.”

Crist’s race is the next big target of conservative Republican activists, and the Club for Growth is expected to make an announcement about a possible Rubio endorsement soon.

The Club helped usher Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman past Republican Dede Scozzafava in the recently concluded special election in New York. Rubio raised $1 million in the third quarter, but getting the Club’s backing could lend even more help with his fundraising and legitimacy.

“The Club for Growth’s ad sets the record straight, and we encourage Floridians to remind their governor that jobs are created by free markets and competition, not big government spending and debt,” Club president Chris Chocola said.