(The Washington Prowler) - In the past week both Florida Sen. Mel Martinez and Gov. Charlie Crist wavered on their promised endorsements for Sen. John McCain, before finally having their fill of the heavy-handed arm-twisting of the Mitt Romney campaign.
"It finally got to the point for both of them that they just got fed up with the constant harassment," says a source close to both men who has worked for them as a political consultant. "They weren't going to endorse Romney and under the right circumstances, one or both of them might have chosen to sit the primary out, but the Romney people just made it intolerable."
In the middle of last week, it appeared that both Martinez and Crist would sit out what has become the battleground state for the Republican nomination for President.
It is believed that the Romney campaign has been able to use its candidate's unfettered wealth to run a successful absentee ballot program, something the other campaigns have not been able to do as well. Those absentee ballots may swing Romney to victory, and keeping Martinez and Crist on the sidelines was part of the strategy for victory.
Another subtext: the diminishment of Rudy Giuliani in a state that he had pegged as his pivot for Super Tuesday. He didn't have a shot at either endorsement, and his campaign has long been warring with the Crist crowd, in part because after Giuliani worked hard for Crist's election as governor, he was repaid by having a Crist staffer leak to the McCain camp an important Giuliani fundraising PowerPoint presentation early last year.
The Romney camp appears to have picked up much of the ideologically conservative support from the Thompson team, including the bulk of his "Lawyers for Thompson" operation. But it doesn't appear that any members of Thompson's longstanding inner circle who started the "Draft Thompson" movement about a year ago will sign on with another campaign.