Florida Governor Charlie Crist has been struggling for months to remain competitive in his 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate. A moderate Republican, Crist faces an increasingly difficult challenge from conservative candidate Marco Rubio. So when he vetoed a conservative education bill on Thursday, many pundits saw it as Crist effectively throwing in the towel for the GOP's nomination. Is he really out? Could he run as an independent?
- Why This Matters Time's Adam Sorensen sums it up. "Charlie Crist vetoed a teacher merit pay bill in Florida. Why is that a big deal? He bucked his party, jabbed Jeb Bush in the eye, and lost his longtime confidante and campaign chair Connie Mack. All of which, of course, fuels speculation of an independent bid."
- Why the Bill Is So Controversial Politico's Alex Isanstadt explains, "The contentious bill, which would have linked teacher pay to student test results, carried the backing of prominent Republican legislators and had been promoted by popular former GOP Gov. Jeb Bush, who championed the measure through his foundation in TV ads."
- Why Is He Courting Dem Groups? Commentary's Jennifer Rubin is astonished. "It's the sort of thing that will make Crist unpopular with everyone but the teachers’ union, which will no doubt support the Democrat in the general election anyway," she writes. "All in all, it was a harebrained move by a politician who has demonstrated why it is a very good thing to have contested primaries: voters can figure out who’s a disaster waiting to happen."
- State Republicans Abandoning Crist Kim Derby of the conservative Florida paper Sunshine News reports, "prominent Florida Republicans have started abandoning Crist’s bid for the U.S. Senate. Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, who takes over as speaker next year, and Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne, withdrew their endorsements of Crist’s Senate bid and the Capitol is abuzz that there are more to come."
- Crist's Next Move NBC News' Domenico Montanaro asks if Crist's veto "effectively end[ed] his GOP primary campaign? Sure looks like it." He reports the campaign is "considering two options right now: 1) making an independent bid, which would turn the general election into a toss-up; and 2) dropping out of the race altogether and turning his sights to a 2012 Senate challenge against Bill Nelson (D). But right now, no one is seriously talking about Crist staying in a GOP primary he’s trailing by double digits. The filing deadline is at the end of this month."