Tampa, Florida (CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's decision to abandon the Republican Party and run for Senate as an independent, expected to be made official at a St. Petersburg campaign event Thursday, marks a stunning turnaround for a politician who just over a year ago was heralded as one of the GOP's brightest young talents.
But Thursday's rally also represents a general election kick-off for what is now one of the most entertaining and unpredictable races of the midterm election year, a battle between three viable statewide candidates.
"This is unprecedented in Florida, and I would say unprecedented in the country," said Justin Sayfie, the editor of the SayfieReview.com, an online clearinghouse for Florida political news.
Crist will be hunting for votes in the nation's fourth largest state along with Democrat Kendrick Meek and Republican Marco Rubio, whose small government message has rallied conservatives to his side over the last year and turned him into a celebrity of sorts among Republicans.
Crist may have a chance to win now, Meeks as well. Anybody other than the wingnut Rubio.
Gov Crist just turned his back on the people that elected him.
You go Charlie!!! I would not have voted for you as a Republican, but you will get my support as an Independent. Charlie is a true politician that certainly cares about his political future, but he also cares about the citizens of Florida.
We do not need any more neo cons such as Rubio, that are bred by the "party of no." We need a middle of the road, moderate that can see both sides of the situation. The Repubs derided him for taking the stimulus bill, but without that stimulus package, Florida would be much worse off than it currently is.
Good luck Charlie!!
The Republicans throwing Crist under the bus and then running over him explains their views in politics .... win at all cost, even if it means "eating one of our own".
I hope a feeding frenzy in the Party of NO is about to begin. They can eat their own. Wouldn't it be great if Meek would win? The right has unleashed so much hate that it is out of control and usually it comes back to haunt you! I sure hope so! It will be interesting to hear what rush bimbo and glen backstabber will say. I'm loving it!
Welcome to the Democratic Party, Gov.
Maybe if Crist became a Democrat, and the current Democratic candidate moved aside, he would easily win the Democratic vote and probably many independents.
There are many Republicans in Florida who are not happy with the course of the Republican Party in Florida the past year. Although they are a minority party, they have gerrymandered the election districts to ensure their perpetual grip on the legislature. They then serve the anti-public interests of every exploitative industry group, including the insurance industry, the power industry, and the oil-drilling industry. To top it all off, they want to make it the government's job to prevent women from having abortions (how that for a 'government takeover'?)
I'm ready to bail with Charley.
A few weeks ago, on a Sunday morning TV debate, Crist was asked if he would support Rubio should he lose the primary. Crist replied "of course". So, he's a liar. My! What a surprise.
I'm loving this republican divide. The right wingers are pushing all the moderates out of the party. Democrats may actually pick up some seats in November if the republicans keep this up.
Crist is a loser of the worst kind. He needs to just go away and realize his career is over. If he basically hands this election to the dumbocrats he will prove what a loser he is. He should never be elected again.
Charlie Crist thank you for leaving the party of NO,I hope and pray that more Republicans will do the same well done Crist and all the luck in November.
With all the talk about Independents coming from the Tea Party and the right-wing extremists–here's a real Independent. Here's someone not shackled by an ideology but is practical and willing to work to get things done. Good for FL.
After the treatment Crist has received from the republican party, he should run as an independent. He has put the benefits for his state over the obstruction of the republican party, which, hopefully other politicians will follow.
The American people are tired of the win at any cost, politics as usual tactics.
And I hope the good people of Florida have the sense to see right through this turncoat! Memeories of Spectre come to mind!
Well let’s hope this will become the norm for both of the major parties. The time of political parties is over, the American people deserve representatives who are focus on the people before party.
Good luck Crist!
It is shameful how your own Party has abandoned you over an eager-beaver-wannabe like Rubio. I hope to God you sweep the floor with him in the upcoming elections. The people of Florida should vote their with their conscience and good sense, that should make you a shoe-in.
Reasonable people have left the Republican Party in droves. All that remain are the Tea Party loonies. Good move Gov. Crist, and best of luck.
His crime is to appear with Obama and accept stimulus money.
I wish him good luck and would vote for him.
I am a Democrat, but I would vote for Crist (as a republican or an independent). He is one of the few sane republicans in the country. Unfortunately, I don't live in Florida.
Charlie, you have the Repubicans REALLY upset! Good.
The only thing unpredictable is what Crist will do when he's on the unemployment line. Rubio is going to win big time!
I hope that voters in Florida vote for Charlie Crist. The way that he has been maligned by his fellow Republicans is reprehensible. They are angry about him taking federal stimulas money, but they tout projects in their own states funded by the stimulas. Actually, I believe that the stimulas has worked and if Governor Crist accepted it to get Florida back on the economic track, he did it in a non hypocritical way. Generally, the Republicans have come off of this thing looking like a bunch of thugs. I guess the endorsement for Marco Rubio from that ex vice Dick would be enough, if I lived in Florida, to vote for the other guy. Charlie Crist has made an honest and decent decision.