The deadline to officially register to run for Senate is coming up, and speculation that Gov. Charlie Crist could shift out of the difficult Republican primary against Marco Rubio and run as an independent has reached a fever pitch. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that Crist is being advised to consider a run with no party affiliation, but describe himself as the "Independent Republican," while keeping his personal Republican party affiliation.
Yes, the Crist campaign has issued sternly worded statements that he wouldn't run as anything other than a Republican. However, Crist would say that those statements came from his campaign manager and not him personally, while stressing that he, personally, is still a Republican even though he'd no longer be seeking the official nomination. Crist also dodged the question of a possible indie run today.
The accuracy of this theory could be tested when Crist decides whether or not to veto the controversial SB6 education bill.
WSJ's sources speculate Crist would begin issuing vetoes against some Republican legislation to reinforce his position as a populist and make himself more palatable to moderate Republican, independents, and Democrats.
SB6 is strongly supported by Jeb Bush and current RPOF Chair John Thrasher, and Rubio has spoken positively of it.
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The bill would eliminate tenure for public school teachers, and 35 percent of Miami-Dade teachers staged a "sick-in" on Monday, skipping class to protest the bill. It would also tie teacher's pay to student test scores.
Crist has said he's been "communicated" with, declining to use the word "lobbied," on this issue harder than any other bill since he's been Governor and says he will have to seriously consider the bill before he signs or vetoes it.
If Crist succeeded as an independent, it's speculated he would still caucus with the Republicans. Whether or not certain members of the caucus would be open to having him is a whole other question.