Parties Debate Who Wins in Crist's Independent Run Decision

Either way, Republicans will ask for their donations back if Crist takes an independent Senate route.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Democrats and Republicans seem split on who will benefit most, or get hurt the worst, by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's likely decision to run in the Senate race as an independent.

"I think the individual who's going to be the happiest is Congressman Meek," said Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine, referring to Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek who is in the Senate race. But Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, cited polls that it will hurt Meek, propelling Republican Marco Rubio to the top. "I am convinced that he will win that race," Cornyn said of Rubio, who the Senate panel plans to endorse when Crist makes his announcement.

Previously, the committee had backed Crist but his plummet in the polls has led Cornyn and others to urge the governor to get out of the race and run in 2012 instead. Crist has ignored Cornyn's calls and now Cornyn is promising to demand that Crist return the thousands of dollars he has contributed to Crist's campaign. He predicted others would do the same thing, possibly financially devastating Crist's independent bid.

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