Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, considered an all-but-certain loser in his bid for the Republican nomination for a Senate seat, will announce Thursday in St. Petersburg that he will quit the GOP race and instead run with no party affiliation.
The decision is not a surprise. Once the clear frontrunner for the seat being vacated by his ally, George LeMieux -- whom Crist appointed to the Senate as a caretaker after GOP incumbent Mel Martinez resigned -- Crist found himself double digits behind Marco Rubio, the former state House speaker, in the Aug. 24 primary.
The deadline for Crist to decide whether he would stay in the GOP contest, or quit to run as an independent, is Friday.
The Democratic nominee is expected to be Rep. Kendrick Meek.