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Based on Gov. Crist’s failing poll numbers and the fact that key staffers are leaving Crist’s campaign, I’m betting that it’s just a matte of time before Gov. Crist’s campaign implodes. Here’s the latest news from the Crist campaign:

In the latest sign of turbulence for Charlie Crist’s wounded U.S. Senate bid, key staffers are starting to leave the campaign.

Political director Pablo Diaz, one of the first two staff members hired for the Senate campaign, is departing at the end of the month for “a new opportunity.” Sean Doughtie, a well-regarded new media consultant who had worked with Crist for years, stopped working for the campaign at the end of January.

“The campaign was going in a different direction,” said Doughtie.

Meanwhile, a poll released Monday pointed to Crist’s dire position six months before the Republican primary: Rubio was leading Crist by 18 percentage points, 54 percent to 36 percent, among likely Republican primary voters, according to a Feb. 18 Rasmussen Reports poll with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

There’s no denying that the Crist ship is sinking. The only question left unanswered is whether he’ll finish all the nationally-televised debates. Most likely, he will in the hopes that Rubio makes a major mistake but that’s a desperate Hail Mary strategy.

There’s little doubt that Gov. Crist will go increasingly negative:

“Now that he’s up in the polls, there will be more scrutiny and that’s great,” a cheerful Crist said Monday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where he suggested that he’s more conservative than Rubio. “If you want to really see somebody’s character, give them power. Well, both the speaker and I have had power. While the speaker was there, he wanted to increase taxes $9 billion,” Crist said, referring to Rubio’s support of a plan to raise sales taxes and eliminate property taxes.

Crist, who neglected to mention that he supported a similar tax swap proposal, also noted that he vetoed more than $450 million in legislative spending initiatives passed while Rubio was speaker. “It takes leadership to do what’s right every single day and not just talk about it on the campaign trail the past six months and forget what your record was for two years,” the governor said, signaling the line of attack Floridians may be seeing on TV airwaves before long.

Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said the campaign is bracing for a barrage of negative attacks from Crist. “Charlie Crist has lost his credibility with Republican voters and his lead in the polls,” Burgos said. “The one thing Charlie Crist has left is to use the millions he does have to smear Marco Rubio with negative and dishonest attacks, a last-gasp strategy that was on full display this morning.”

I expected Gov. Crist to go negative but I didn’t expect that it would happen this soon. This, to me, is verification that Gov. Crist’s campaign is falling apart at an accelerating pace. It won’t be long before Gov. Crist’s political career is finished.

Because Gov. Crist’s campaign will likely implode, it isn’t likely that Florida Democrats would want him as their gubernatorial candidate. At this point, he’s damaged goods. I’m bettign that even the Democrats aren’t that desperate.

It’s sad that Gov. Crist’s campaign has unraveled this badly this fast. It’s an unprecedented implosion in terms of politics, though the Philadelphia Phillies’ collapse in 1964 might rival it in sports.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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