WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will announce Tuesday he will forgo another bid for governor and instead run for the Senate, two well placed Republican sources tell CNN.
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 former House speaker Marco Rubio, 54 percent to 8 percent, in a GOP primary. 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 announced his candidacy last week and is seeking to align himself with the conservative wing of the state party. Crist, who supported President Obama’s stimulus package, is considered to be more closely aligned with centrist Republicans.
Rep. Kendrick Meek, North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns and state Sen. Dan Gelber are all seeking the Democratic Senate nomination.
Crist’s interest in running for the Senate has been rumored ever since Martinez announced he would retire in 2010. Another source, close to the Crist family, said that the governor’s wife has been telling friends her husband is going to seek the Senate seat. The sources tell CNN that Crist had been waiting for the Florida legislature to gavel out of session before he made an announcement about his future political plans.
“He is the big fish that national Republicans have been looking for,” Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report, said of Crist. “I think the big question is does Rubio get out of the race and how quickly would he do so?”
Rothenberg added, “You can bet that national party strategists would love to clear the field for Crist. In that case, the governor would immediately become the favorite for the fall.”
In the 2008 race for the White House, Crist endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain for the Republican nomination, and the governor was reportedly considered to be McCain’s vice presidential running mate.
CNN's Kevin Bohn, John King, Paul Steinhauser and Jessica Yellin contributed to this story.
ooooohh, this is bogus although i like him, he'd d better as a governor not a senator.
THis is a political move as Crist is being promoted for a run for the presidency. Sorry Crist, your still a republican and you guys have ruined this country enough to last a few life times.
I think he should Stay a Govenor!
I appreciate you voting for the stimulus bill Charlie. You seriously need to consider switching parties. I would hate to see one of the few republicans that I do respect get thrown under the bus by his own party. Good luck. But that depends on who the democrat contender is.
Good, we need more Republican Senators.
It seems like he could have a good chance to be a US Senator.
I like Crist but I wish he would remain Governor, however considering the Republican choices he's definitely a much better candidate than Rubio.
huh? you mean Cheney and Limbaugh haven't kicked him out of the party yet for being a *gasp!* moderate?????
Not a bad candidate for the Republicans… that is if the Republican party will embrace him to run on their ticket. He has voted with Obama an has shown he would be able to work with a Democratic majority to get Floridians what they need. He should come out of the closet though. Floridias have known for years and it would be a shame if his campaign was torpedoed by an outing mid-campaign.
Since he was not automatically opposed to the stimulus plan, thereby actually thinking for himself, fat boy and the rest will vilify him and try to find another candidate (who would more likely lose the election) who parrots the Uber-right's propaganda from the der Feurher Rush
Charlie Crist has made Jeb Bush look much worse. Crist is one of the most open-minded Republicans which means he will soon be attacked by Limbaugh for being able to think on his own.
Great. Just what anti-Socialists need. Another GOPer who will compromise with the Socialists.
The only difference between the Socialists running this country now, and the conservatives of today is the speed with which unlimited government is thrust upon the people.
Guard your liberties, for the government shall take them.
No governor voted on the stimulus bill. You have to be in the house or the senate.
Ugh, as a liberal Floridian, I actually like Crist as governor and would rather see him run for a second term. And I'm not sure this is the right move for him in terms of potentially becoming President. Most presidents come from gubernatorial positions, not senatorial positions. Granted, assuming Crist wins the seat (which he will), he would then have experience in both roles, but I think 8 years as governor would be more valuable experience as well as higher profile.
However, perhaps he doesn't have Presidential aspirations, meaning this would be a good move for him b/c he could be in Senate forever. Considering the rampant speculation that Crist is gay and his new wife a beard, he may have a difficult time ever securing a GOP presidental nomination bid.
Well, good luck Crist. Maybe Florida will elect a Dem as governor this time. I wouldn't complain about that.
Great move. He has more experience than Obama for any position.
Chris should take a look at what happened to Spector and Powell before he makes the leap to the Senate. He's not a platform Republican so he could have problems. Issues like extending voting hours in Florida and restoring voting rights to criminals who served their time is much to sensible to make it in the Republican party.
Good, we need to inject some intelligence into Washington!!!
The Republicans will find a way to knock him out, too. He is too open to new ideas and solutions to problems.
This is one republican I will vote for, he not as crazy as the others.
A moderate pro-choice republican getting thru a republican primary?
Sorry, Crist, you dead before you get out of the gate!
Another Repug that needs to be beat....They are coming out from under every rock.