Crist could be a real pain in the elephant

By Ford O’Connell at

Up until today, a Republican was almost certainly going to be elected to the United States Senate by Florida voters this November.

Gov. Charlie Crist, less than a year removed from being considered a shoe-in to replace former Florida Sen. Mel Martinez (D), is exiting the GOP primary against Marco Rubio(R) to launch an independent bid.
“The system is broken…and I think we need a new tone in Washington,” Christ said during his announcement this evening.

Rasmussen Reports no longer considers this race a cakewalk for the GOP.

Rather than a Rubio or Crist rout, Florida voters will be faced with a heated, 3-way race that includes Rep. Kendrick Meek (D), who was previously considered a long shot in a head-to-head match up for this seat.

The stakes couldn’t be higher.

If Republicans wish to regain control of the Senate, they simply cannot afford to lose this race.  A Meek victory would give Democrats control of both Florida Senate seats, and an edge in the Sunshine State heading into 2012.  If Christ wins, the real question will be: Which party will he choose to caucus with come January?

Adam Dahlgren contributed to this report.

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