Florida Judge Blocks GOP Quest for Crist Refunds

By Curt Anderson | September 23, 2010 | 3:26 PM EDT

Miami (AP) - A Florida judge has rejected a legal maneuver could have enabled thousands of Republican contributors to seek refunds of up to $7.5 million they gave to support a GOP Senate candidacy by Gov. Charlie Crist.

Circuit Judge Jack Schoonover in Naples refused Thursday to certify a lawsuit brought by two GOP donors as a class action covering at least 2,000 similar contributors. The decision means donors would have to sue individually for refunds.

The two contributors gave money to Crist when he was campaigning for U.S. Senate as a Republican. They sued in Collier County, claiming Crist broke a contract when he abandoned the GOP earlier to run as an independent.

The case cast doubt on Crist's ability to finance his Senate race. Crist is running against Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek in the Nov. 2 election.