Florida Gov. Charlie Crist speaks to students and teachers April 23 during a visit to the McFatter Technical Center in Davie, Fla. Crist is expected to announce Thursday whether he'll abandon his bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate and instead run as an independent. Lynne Sladky/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Lynne Sladky/AP

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican, has told advisers he will run for Senate as an independent, setting up a three-way race that polls indicate would be hotly contested. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Obama and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist appear on the stage at a Fort Myers, Fla., town hall meeting in February 2009. Charles Dharapak/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Charles Dharapak/AP