Seeing as there is a new development every 15 minutes about Charlie Crist’s expected departure from the Republican Party so that he can run as an Independent, I will just keep this post up to provide the latest updates on Crist, Marco Rubio, Kendrick Meek. I’ll keep aggregating any major stories, while posting links to stories also worth reading:
9:34 a.m. – Charlie Crist’s supporters face pressure from GOP:
While the Tampa Bay Chair of Crist for Senate, Greg Truax, says he has always supported Charlie Cristand always will, he is being forced to make a call of his own by the Republican Party. Truax is a state executive committee member of the GOP and he could lose that position because he signed a loyalty oath promising to support Republican candidates.
12:13 a.m. – Crist: I have not made up my mind:
Will he or won’t he? Politicos across Florida, and the country are eagerly awaiting for Republican Senatorial candidate Gov. Charlie Crist to decide whether he will stay in the GOP primary, or jump into the Florida Senate race as an independent. Today, during a ground-breaking for a new highway project, built partially with Federal stimulus money, Crist said that he has yet to “make up his mind” on the crucial decision that could change the dynamics of the hotly-contested 2010 seat.
“I haven’t made that decision yet,” Crist bluntly told reporters today in Miami, when asked if voters wanted him to run as an independent. “I’m not sure, and there is only one way to find out, and that’s if we decide to do it.”
4/26 – 10:57 a.m. – McConnell tells Crist to run as a Republican:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on “Fox News Sunday” that while he supports Florida Governor Charlie Crist today, he will not continue to support him if he decides to leave the party. Crist, who is trailing Republican Marco Rubio for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, has indicated he may skip the GOP primary and run as an independent. Crist only has until Friday to decide what letter is going to fall behind his name, but that hasn’t stopped Republican heavy hitters from weighing in early.
The Kentucky Republican, who endorsed Crist a year ago, suggested he should, “compete as a Republican. He has been a Republican all of his life and to remain within the party. I hope he will do that.” So will he take back his endorsement? McConnell said, “Not today…I think if the governor were to decide to run as an Independent, he’s not going to have any Republican support.”
12:31 p.m. – The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank writes: “Win or lose, an independent Crist candidacy would remind Republican leaders that ideological cleansing has a cost. That’s why Crist should be encouraged to run. Hug him if you wish, kiss him if you must, but show Charlie Crist some love.”
10:21 a.m. – Rubio tells CNN: “It doesn’t change the race for me as I’ve told everybody I got into this race because I believe that I was the only candidate running who would stand up to the Obama agenda and offer a clear alternative and I still believe that,” Rubio told Santorum during his appearance on the radio program. “And that’s not going to change whether it is a three-way race or two-way race. The way I view it is my two opponents, Congressman Kendrick Meek … and Governor Charlie Crist are both folks that have supported and will support important, if not all the elements, of the Obama agenda if they get elected to the U.S. Senate. So the race in that regard hasn’t changed at all.”
9:46 a.m. – National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn told POLITICO he’d been playing phone tag with Charlie Crist and expects things to “come to a head here pretty quick” over a possible independent Senate bid by the Florida governor. Asked for his sense of where things are headed, Cornyn replied: “I have no idea. I have no idea at all.”
9:33 a.m. – VP Dick Cheney’s endorsement of Marco Rubio just announced on Fox News by Carl Cameron. Cameron describes Cheney’s statement as a “scathing” rebuttal of Crist, saying he can’t be trusted.
8:11 a.m. – The Tallahassee Democrat’s Bill Cotterell offers a fascinating history lesson about the last man to win a statewide race as an Independent.
8:09 a.m. The New York Times writes: A Republican May Test Odds As An Outsider:
If he chooses to run as an independent, Mr. Crist would be betting that the prevailing political logic of the moment is wrong — that despite the Tea Party’s rise, the broader electorate still wants the pragmatic approach that propelled Barack Obama to victory here.
Leading a campaign that would most likely lack major fund-raising and a party’s street-level support, Mr. Crist would be running in the hope of turning out “the silent majority” that Richard M. Nixon identified in 1969. Experts say the governor’s odds are long, but not impossible.
8:57 p.m. – Matt Towery of InsiderAdvantage reported that “reliable sources” said Crist was preparing a speech in which he would announce his switch from Republican to independent.
However, a source close to Crist tells TPMDC, “there is no speech.” Another GOP source tells TPMDC that they have not heard about it.
2:48 p.m. – Jeff Kottkamp says he won’t support Crist’s Independent bid. YouTube video here.
2:45 p.m. – Senator Jim DeMint tells The Brody File that the Republican Party doesn’t need people like Charlie Crist who care more about political polls than principles. He compares Crist to Arlen Specter. Watch his comments below and read a partial transcription here.