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
Good call Mr. Crist. Now that you are splitting the conservative vote, the Democrats are now more likely to win. November is sure to be very interesting.
Brilliant move Crist. November is starting shaping up already!
GO CRIST GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To Charlie in Maine: they're not running for Governor, this is a Senate race. FYI
I think it's time for those in politics to think of the country and NOT of partisanism.Crist has done something that Dems and Reps MUST do to help our country. HE STEPPED ACROSS THE ISLE! Nobody in news now or in the public seens to recognise how important this really is! The solutions for our countrys trouble are not ,RIGHT OR LEFT of center,they are IN the CENTER.The GOP and the Democrats, MUST work together if responcible , workable ,legisilation is to be passed! GOOD FOR HIM! WAY TO GO!
I don't like my options. All of the candidates are career politicians. Neither of them has held an honest job for more than a few years. Just another batch of lawyers.
Good for you Charlie! As a life-long Florida resident and registered Republican I think its great that you are going to run as an Indepedent. These nutty, ultra-right-wing folks have lost their minds in a frantic race to see who can be the most conservative, close-minded, anti-EVERYTHING, group of people I've ever seen. I consider being conservative a virtue but these folks have taken it to such an extreme that they aren't thinking clearly.
So far its been a good day. Gov. Crist is going to do the right thing, the wind farm got approved in Mass. Now if the Coast Guard can keep that oil off my beach I'll be doing alright. - Keeping my fingers crossed on that last one.
Like so many other Republicans (candidates and voters) who simply cannot stand the "Purity Tests" of the far right wing.
The Republican Party is doomed if they do not return to some semblance of sanity. Be "Conservative" if you wish but do not stand idly by and watch the Party be hijacked by extremists.
Good for Crist. As a moderate Democrat, I'd rather see Kendrick Meek, who is earnest and hard-working, but Crist seems like a straight-shooter who's at least willing to consider arguments from across the political spectrum without villainizing his ideological opponents.
Benedict Arlan has taught you well.
you go charlie....you got them over a barrel now... i think your courage will carry you thru this one.....the wing nuts are poopin bricks on this one.....yowie to this owie
@Dutch/Bad Newz is right. A "sane and logical" party should be started to take back this country from the nutty fringes.
Run as an idependent then caucus with Democrats. We need more moderates not hard wired right wing nuts.
Go Charlie. I was moving Dem as an independent and will vote for you.I want a centrist and believe you are one.
Governor Crist is a courageous leader. He vetoed an "education" reform bill that the GOP legislature tried to ram through without consulting anyone involved who has to imploement it. It probably was the stupidest bill ever to be enacted by so called adults. It would have taken away tenure for teachers in a state that doesn't pay them well and has a hard time attracting talented people. It would have removed experience and further education as ways to get a better salary. The bill was called a merit pay bill because it would have pegged the success of students on one single exam at the end of the year. A teacher could have been fired on the basis of this test. It was political theatre and not policy making.
Governor Crist is a former Education Commissioner and has two sisters who are teachers. He knows better than anyone else that this bill would have set Florida back even further.
His party abandoned him, not the other way around.
The only person to benefit from that bill would have been Jeb Bush's brother, Neal. His company makes the tests up for Florida.
Dear Obama the liar, I bet he's more like Lieberman, but you wouldn't attack him now would you?
GOOD cause this country could use more parties so we can have more vocies heard and more of a variety of candidates. I think we've out grown the whole two party system where one of them is mandated to win. I should be finally able to say went i vote i voted for the best candidate for the job, not the lesser of two evils.
Game on fellow junkies.
Crist will win in a landslide, just like Lieberman. Crist will be able to attract moderate independents and Democrats, which will be impossible for Rubio. We need more Senators who are independent and can vote for what is best for their state and our country, as opposed to mindless loyalty to party leaders.
No room for a moderate in the Party of No. I support Crist's decsion to run as an independent. And he was wise to support Obama's stimulus plan which preserved jobs in Florida and gave the state desperatley needed funds.
The GOP is Falling Apart.
I'll be contributing to his campaign as soon as I know where to send the money.
One more win for the moderates of this country. Thank you Charlie!
Good for him, he has always worked for the people of Florida. Who is Rubio again??????
We need more NPA candidates. Non party affiliate should be the wave of the future, to bad the two power house parties won't allow it. I'd be in favor of a new Centrist party, anyone...anyone???