Report: Charlie Crist May Run as an Independent

With Gov. Charlie Crist trailing Marco Rubio by 18 points in the latest poll of likely Republican primary voters, the biggest question in Florida politics is whether or not he'll ditch the GOP in his bid for the Senate.

Well, two anonymous sources close to Crist tell the Sun-Sentinel's Jack Furnari that the Gov is preparing to run as an independent. Furnari says he can't confirm the report as "verifiable fact," but believes the reason a few high-level Crist campaign workers left recently was because they're dedicated to the Republican party. He also believes that yesterday's news that Rubio may have put personal charges on a RPOF AmEx will have little effect amongst the conservative base.

Crist theoretically, could shore up the moderate and independent vote, his loyalists in the Republican party, and a good handful of registered Democrats. Some recent polling shows that Crist leads in a three way match up between Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek.

The move makes sense. All Crist knows is elected politics. If he loses in the Republican primary, his career may be over if he doesn't leave the party. Where else does he have to go, besides retreat back to reelection to Tallahassee? Florida may be a big state to win without the help of party money, but Crist already has considerable bank.

Furnari doesn't mention whether, if elected as an Independent, Crist would ultimately caucus with the Republicans or Democrats in the Senate.

Considering that Kendrick Meek isn't the strongest Democratic senate candidate in recent memory, we wouldn't be surprised if either way Crist started getting donations from Democratic donors. They'd like nothing better than to embarrass the tea party movement and the GOP. Plus there's always the off chance Rubio and Crist could split the right and right-leaning moderate vote and Meek could emerge victorious.

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