Florida's Crist To Make Senate Bid As Independent

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist with an American flag i i

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
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist with an American flag

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

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist — until now a Republican candidate in a hotly contested Senate race — has told advisers and fundraisers that he'll announce Thursday that he has decided to run in the general election with no party affiliation.

People close to the governor say he's told them he will announce he's running as an independent.

Crist has been a Republican his whole career, serving as an aide to former Sen. Connie Mack, then as a member of the state Senate, education commissioner, attorney general and finally governor.

He announced last year he was running for the Senate — to fill the open seat left by retiring Republican Mel Martinez.

The race for the Republican nomination, though, has turned out much tougher than he expected. Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio has campaigned across the state with a conservative, anti-Washington message and built a commanding lead over Crist.

Recent polls suggest that in a three-way race against Rubio and the likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Kendrick Meek, an independent Crist campaign would be competitive.

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