Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will run for senator as an independent candidate. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
(CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has decided to run as an independent rather than compete for the Republican Party nomination in his bid for the Senate, multiple sources tell CNN.
One of the sources, a fundraiser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Crist has begun contacting financial supporters to tell them that he is running as a non-party affiliated candidate and to ask for their continued support.
Once the overwhelming favorite in the battle for the Republican Senate nomination, Crist is now trailing former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio by more than 20 points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month.
But the survey offered hope Crist could win in November if he ran as an independent. In this scenario, Crist would have a slight edge over Rubio and a larger lead over Rep. Kendrick Meek, the likely Democratic nominee, in a three-way general election match up.
Crist is expected to officially declare his intentions during an event Thursday afternoon in his hometown of St. Petersburg. Crist's campaign is calling it "a candidate qualifying event." Crist has until Friday to declare his intentions.
If Crist does decide to launch an independent bid, a source tells CNN that one of his main GOP consultants, Public Opinion Strategies, will leave the campaign.
–CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger and CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report
is he Arlens Specter's cousin? sort of looks and acts like him
Just what I wanted to see. Right wing republicans pushing moderates out of the party. Keep it up. Majority of Americans rebuke far right wing candidates. Here's an idea though. How about all the moderate republicans and Blue Dog democrats start their own party.
for it the last thing the counrty needs is another Republican Governor especially someone like Rubio. If Christ wins, great no Rubio. If he splits the GOP vote even better a Democratic Gov. Go Charlie go.
Run Charlie, run.
Go Charlie! It's time someone showed those right wing Tea Leaf idiots and talk show clowns that normal Americans in the GOP want nothing to do with them!!!
Good for you Crist!!! you will win as an Independent! America needs more of you!
Great news! A moderate voice-not a right wing nut Neanderthal.
Changing post dose not make him a better man .
Good.... now i'll vote for you.. I'm a Democrat.. and I don't like Kendrick Meek..
Good for Crhist .....I'm a democrat...but respect him for standing up to the GOP who seem to be driving a big "Tea Pot" to nowhere....Being an independent might actually work very well in his favor....
Great news, Crist is his own man. Rubio is in trouble now. LOL
If my home was in FLA , I would vote for Crist .
Rubio would start third war with Cuba.
Oh well... Crist just destroyed his political future. After he gets his clock cleaned by Rubio, he'll have NOTHING and NO WHERE TO GO. Another politcal career destroyed by a hug from Obama. What a fool Crist is....
Only independents should be allowed to serve in office. Republicans and Democrats cause more problems than they solve.
was that the best photo on file that you have of the Gov of Florida? Looks like he is sticking out his tongue. Always thought he was an interesting looking person
Good for Crist! It is obvious he would be the best nomination for the Republican party to win, But the tea party movement and the swing by a lot of the far right wing conservatives are really just cutting their own noses to spite to their face in their efftors to push the republican party further and further to the right. Good decision Crist!
Mark my words, this could be the first nail in the coffin of the Tea Party. If he wins, he sets the blueprint showing the Tea Party is not unstoppable or he splits the vote.
Hey GOPers/Teatards, how's that extremey, fringey thing workin' out for ya?
I'm a lifelong dem and I'm thinking about sending him campaign money. Glad to see he is standing strong as a moderate. Good luck, Charlie.
Crist is solid.
Now that he is running against them, will the Republicans bring out their usual smear campaigne and bring out all the stories that Crist is really gay?
The last thing the GOP needs or wants right now is moderation.
I will send him a check. And I do not live in Florida. This is rich. The tag bag wonder child Rubio will lose.
Go Charlie, yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so glad that he decided to run as independent and broke away from Republicans. It means that he chose the interest of the people over the Republican party interest! I am glad that he is not following this far (too far) right-wing ideology that will never win among young, educated people!