But now, a dramatic swing in the polls has underdog Marco Rubio ahead of Crist.
A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Rubio, a Miami Native and former House Speaker for the State of Florida, with a three percent lead over Crist. Rubio leads 47-44 percent among Republican voters, a 34 point swing from just eight months ago.
"It's now a statistical dead-heat," said Quinnipiac Pollster Peter Brown.
"That's pretty remarkable, really in my experience in politics in Florida I haven't seen this previously to date," said Justin Sayfie, a former top aide to Gov. Jeb Bush and the founder of popular political website sayfiereview.com.
"Marco Rubio is a full-time candidate, he's meeting people all across the State of Florida," said Sayfie. "Gov.Crist is not a full-time candidate, doing what governors do, but he is well liked in Florida."
In June 2009, a Quinnipiac poll showed that Rubio trailed Crist by 31 percent. That lead shrunk to 15 in October, and as of today, it's gone.
Gov. Crist said the results are a result of "a tough economy."
Rubio's surge also comes after a push to remind voters that Crist was with President Obama when he promoted the stimulus package in Southwest Florida.
Sayfie said a Rubio win in the August primary would be a significant upset. But as we've seen, a lot can change in eight months.
"The polls being as close as they are, it's going to be a battle royale," Sayfie said.