[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/12/crist.senate/art.charliecrist.gi.jpg caption="Gov. Charlie Crist, pictured alongside Sen. John McCain, endorsed and campaigned for the Obama stimulus"]
The Republican fratricide in the November 3 special election in upstate New York may prove just an opening round of an even more spectacular bloodbath in Florida in 2010.
In New York, Republican feuding lost the party a seat in the House of Representatives. At stake in Florida is not only a senatorship - but very possibly Republican hopes for 2012 as well.
The battle in Florida pits Gov. Charlie Crist against former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio. Both men claim to be conservative, pro-life, tax cutters. On the issues, they would seem to agree far more than they disagree.
But on one issue they have disagreed passionately: President Obama's fiscal stimulus. Squeezed by his state's desperate fiscal condition, Crist endorsed and campaigned for the Obama stimulus. Inspired by his conservative ideology, Rubio opposed stimulus.
Now Rubio is the darling of conservatives nationwide. Just this week it was announced that he would keynote next year's annual CPAC conference in Washington. He has been profiled on the cover of National Review, endorsed by the Club for Growth, and feted by radio talk show hosts.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with