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February 26th, 2010 2:12 pm
Charlie Crist to Run as an Independent?

That’s the rumor coming out of Florida Republican circles and RedState’s Erick Erickson.  Not that such a move would be too much of a surprise since Crist is still the sitting governor of Florida and is losing by 18% to former state house speaker, Marco Rubio.  He needs something to spice up his campaign, and going rogue would certainly do it.  The question is, though, what kind of voter would Crist try to attract once he became un-tethered from a political party?

This isn’t the same scenario that faced Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) when he ran as an independent after losing the Connecticut Democratic primary to Ned Lamont in 2006.  There, netroots activists took over the election and alienated much of Lieberman’s comparatively moderate base.  Lieberman was also aided by some not so subtle help from the Bush Administration seeing the Iraq War supporter as an ally on foreign affairs.  Neither factor is present in this year’s Florida U.S. Senate race.  Not only is Rubio building the kind of following that could deliver a decisive victory among Republicans and Independents, there is no indication that the Obama Administration will coordinate with Crist to the detriment of the likely Democratic nominee, Kendrick Meek.

If Crist truly is considering leaving the GOP, he should instead “suspend” his campaign and concentrate on ending his one term as governor on as good a note as possible.  Otherwise, he’ll do further damage to his reputation while simultaneously wasting Floridians time and money on an ill-conceived vanity tour.

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