WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is on the verge of announcing his bid for the U.S. Senate, which would provide a significant boost to Republican recruiting efforts for the 2010 elections if he decides to take the leap.
Several sources tell CNN that Crist is seriously leaning towards a run, and could declare his candidacy as early as next week – perhaps Monday. The timing would provide Crist with enough distance between the close of Florida’s legislative session and staking out his own day to declare his future political plans.
Crist has been talking up a Senate run with friends, a source close to the governor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, tells CNN. Another source, close to the Crist family, said that the governor’s wife has been telling friends her husband is going to run for the Senate. And a third Crist source tells CNN all indications are that he is in, but cautioned it was not 100 percent and noted there was still a chance for the governor to pull the plug on a Senate bid.
So far, Crist has been coy about his political plans, only saying publicly that he would make an announcement once the legislature gaveled out of session.
Crist is a very popular governor in the Sunshine State and his entrance into the Senate race would take huge financial pressure off of national Republicans to help fund a campaign to save this Republican seat currently held by retiring Sen. Mel Martinez. An April Quinnipiac Poll showed that registered Republicans would vote for Crist over potential primary rival Marco Rubio, 54 percent to 8 percent. But the poll also found that more people overall and Republicans specifically would rather see Crist run for re-election as governor than seek the Senate seat.
Rubio is a former state House speaker who announced his candidacy earlier this week and is seeking to align himself with the conservative wing of the state party.
"Some believe that the path to security and prosperity is a larger government involvement in our economy," Rubio said. "That what we need is a government that spends more money ... a majority of us don't agree with that view, and we deserve a voice in American politics."
Among the issues Rubio said he will emphasize are tax reform and a balanced budget amendment.
Crist, who supported President Obama's stimulus package, is considered to be a centrist Republican.
CNN's Kevin Bohn, Mark Preston, John King, and Jessica Yellin contributed to this story.
I am a life long Floridian who actually likes Gov. Crist but sorry charile I'm voting for the other guy.
Is there REALLY such a thing as a centrist Republican? We'll have to research a little more on this. Frankly, while Christ seems ok, I really don't trust ANY Republicans anymore.
Is Florida ready for a gay republican senator?
@ "Rufus Leaking"........... Interesting comment. If Crist is gay, I feel for the guy, the GOP will throw him under the bus!
lol.... go for it Crist. ought to be great seeing the fundamentalist right wing christian taliban go nuts on you for the duration of the campaign.
I really think Crist is handsom, i think he would make a great senator.
OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH will Rush approve??
He might want to wait to see what the fallout from the movie "Outrage" is before he announces anything.
he also should change parties before the republican party blows away in the wind
it would show his state that he can think outside the box . and move forward and not go down the tubes with the rest of the idiots
I think he probably could do a good job as a senator . but not as a republican puppet boy
Listen Crist..I'll get lots of 25 yrs. old to help you campaign if you'll do this one favor...........
Charlie Crist is a complete zero as the Guv of Florida. He has done nothing and accomplished nothing except to provide us all more taxes and not solve any of the many problems that exist in this State. He is a total undesirable.
Go Charlie, Go!!
OK, so what if he is gay? He, like many, stay closeted because when we are high profiled, we are villafied for being who we are, in this country.
It will be great for the republicans to have an openly gay member running for such a high status position. Congratulations!
Karen from Missouri,
Take off your blinders. Not every Republican is a Bush Republican. Many are Reagan Republicans and many are, Yes, centalists.
There are many Republicans equally angered over the destruction of our party by George Bush and are ready for someone to finally stand up and take back our party and bring back the good ol' conservative, small government values of old.
And for your sake "conservative" does not mean "non-inclusive." Many people are under the assumption that all Republicans hate minorities, gays, women, etc.
There are many of us who simply like small government, low taxes, local governance (states rights), and other things that have been forgotten over the last eight years.
We want our party back and hopefully Crist can help get us there.
And by the way, it is Crist and not Christ.
Leave it up to a Liberal to screw that up.
Please turn it down Charlie and go for the gold and rescue the republican party in 2012 this man can be the next president because
he really cares about the people and he won't spend like the democrats and the republican party will not rule him the people will.
Woo, Charlie Crist! Nice jersey!
Go Tampa Bay Rays!
I like Crist, he's a moderate conservative.
Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that he said he's the Gov. of Florida and that's what he going to do, period? Oh, I forgot, he's a republican and they have an awful hard time telling the truth.
Wife? Am I reading this correctly? Maybe a tiger does change his stripes. I've been away from Florida too long.
I like Gov Crist and I am liberal. I feel badly he has had to hide in the closet IF he is gay. We don't know for sure. He has a beautiful new wife
I'm a liberal, but I like Charlie Crist. He's rational, not overtly political. He's a Meghan McCain Republican (economic/ defense centered; not socially repressive). I can respect that. If the GOP is going to make its much needed come-back, Crist for Senator is a step in the right direction.
Divisive politics are so 2007. Attitudes are changing. Try driving a car looking in your rear-view mirror the entire time. Trust me, you'll crash. The GOP is crashing (gay marriage, contraceptives, the list goes on). Stop allowing Rush and Palin to steer your party's future.
I live in Florida now, I used to live in Texas. Crist cut all property taxes that left a huge budet deficit. Where does he think the police, fire, teachers, and city workers pay comes from. The schools down in south florida are cutting teachers and all programs such as art, PE, music. The only thing that is saving us is the Recovery Package that the President signed. He also needs to realize that most of the economy is tourism. If we drill off of the coast here it will look like the gulf in Texas. God I miss the grey sand and tar balls.
I like Charlie Crist I think he is decent and I think that he is strong minded and has good principles. But If Kendrick Meeks decide to run I will back him and even campaign for he as hard as I did for President Obama!!!!
This is good news. We need a moderate person who is willing to work with Obama. It is OK with me if he says he's a republican. He sure is not a John Cornyn or John Boehner or Rush Limbaugh – he seems to have common sense.