Florida Gov. Charles Crist is widely expected to announce Thursday that he is abandoning his bid for the GOP Senate nomination and running as an independent, setting up a three-way race between Crist, Republican Marco Rubio, and Democrat Kendrick Meek. Crist started the campaign as a heavy favorite in the GOP primary, but fell far behind small-government conservative Rubio, who is wildly popular among Tea Partiers. The question is, will Crist's gambit pay off? (Watch an AP report about Charlie Crist's party switch)
Crist might just do it: He "has a hard row to hoe," says Democrat Steve Schale in his blog, via Post on Politics. As a moderate, he could peel off a third or so of voters from both parties — if he wins half of Florida's independent voters, he could muster enough support to win in a three-way race.
No, Rubio is the clear favorite: Some polls put Crist narrowly out front in a three-way race, says David Frum in FrumForum. But that should change as independent voters question "the grounds for Crist's candidacy," and Republicans "of all stripes" rally around their new "standard-bearer." Fortunately, Meek's a weak candidate — otherwise Crist's selfishness could have cost the GOP a Senate seat.
"Charlie Crist turns his back"
That's true, but Republicans can't rest easy: "I'm skeptical" that Crist can win, says John Hinderaker in Power Line, "but let's not take any chances. This kind of disloyalty to the Republican Party can't be rewarded." All good conservatives should send money to Rubio's campaign to discourage other politicians from following Crist's lead and abandoning their party to save their own skin.
"Rubio for Senate"