Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced Thursday that he would run in the race for the open US Senate seat as an independent. That makes it a three-way race, where anything is possible.
Thursday was independence day for Charlie Crist.
But the governor of Florida, now an ex-Republican, may not be feeling quite like setting off fireworks. Governor Crist has taken the gamble of a lifetime, quitting the party that nurtured his rise to the top of Florida politics – and to national prominence – in the hopes of revitalizing his campaign for the US Senate.
Polls showed he was headed for near-certain defeat in the Aug. 24 Republican primary against former state House speaker Marco Rubio. For now, at least, he can point to polling that shows he has a shot at winning the seat in a three-way race against Mr. Rubio and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek. A Quinnipiac poll taken in mid-April has Crist winning 32 percent of the vote, Rubio with 30 percent, and Congressman Meek with 24. Private polls have shown similar results.
In a three-way race, where someone can win with less than 35 percent of the vote, anything is possible. And in addition to giving Crist a new lease on his political life, the gambit also suddenly makes Meek viable – especially if the Democrats currently supporting Crist go “home” to their own party’s candidate.