Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has fallen far behind Tea Party darling Marco Rubio in the Republican race for an open Senate seat. National and state Republicans are now strongly urging Crist to drop out of the race and not run, as seems likely, as an independent. Crist has until April 30 to make up his mind. But if he can't run as a Republican, would the reasonably popular governor be better off going it alone? (Watch Charlie Crist say he'll make a "thoughtful" decision)
An indy bid would be political suicide: Crist is "clearly tempted" by a Quinnipiac poll that suggests he'd win a three-way race, says Kim Strassel in The Wall Street Journal. But that's delusional. If Crist wants to avoid a "devastating end to his political career," he should "gracefully" step aside for Rubio and hope he can "earn back the good will of the GOP" sufficiently to take on Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in 2012.
"The Crist implosion"
Crist is already dead to the GOP: Forget 2012, says Markos Moulitsas in Daily Kos. "Crist will never run as a Republican again." He burned his last bridge by vetoing a GOP teacher-tenure bill last week. As a moderate Republican, Crist's just out of step with today's Tea Party-fueled GOP. He should have switched parties a year go.
"FL-Sen: What will Crist do?"
His best (bad) option may be going it alone: If Crist ditches the GOP, he loses his fundraising pool, his campaign staff, and "the party machinery that helps mobilize voters," says Adam C. Smith in the St. Petersburg Times. The upside: He can stop "trying to out-conservative Rubio," and aim for the political middle where "Florida elections are [typically] decided." But even that assumption may not hold in this race.
"If Crist runs as independent, political assumptions are gone"