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.