After Charlie Crist announced he'd seek Florida's open senate seat as an independent earlier this week his former party immediately begin trashing him. Oddly, the most powerful democrat in the Senate called to offer his congratulations.
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According to people familiar with the call, the Nevada Democrat was just wishing Crist well. But coming as Republicans from Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are railing against Crist for his policy stances and decision to bolt their party's primary, Reid apparently sees an opening -- and possibly another vote for a Democratic majority leader next year in what could be a near-even partisan breakdown.
Let's say the GOP manages to get to 50 senators in the next congress, unlikely (especially if Rubio isn't one of the 50) but possible. That would put the Democrats at 47 with independent Sen. Sanders and Lieberman caucusing with them for a total of 49. If Crist managed to get elected as an independent, he could then either full-out caucus with the Dems, or at least vote for Reid as Majoirty leader. That would put each party at 50 a piece, with Vice President Biden, who serves as president of the Senate, as the tie breaking vote.