Crist (I-FL)?

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Politico is reporting that Florida Governor Charlie Crist will continue his bid for Mel Martinez’s old Senate seat as an Independent. Rumors have swirled for days that Crist, who is losing in polls by double digits to former Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio for the GOP nomination, was considering an outside bid. The governor was the early establishment darling, enjoying the support of the inside-the-Beltway crowd. But as Rubio (and the Tea Party movement) grew in power, Crist’s allies have wavered or waned away. As an Indepdentent he may have a tougher time with this soon-to-be-former Party: when asked about a potential Crist indy bid former Majority Leader Trent Lott looked sad. “I really hope he doesn’t do it,” Lott told reporters on Capitol Hill today, adding he’ll support whomever wins the GOP primary. “It’d end his career.” Running as an Independent by no means assures Crist the seat. While polls show that Crist would beat Democratic hopeful Rep. Kendrick Meek by a much wider margin than Rubio, in a three way race, Rubio would edge out both Crist and Meek. That may change after Crist formally announces his decision — we shall see.

Crist denies that he told anyone that he’s going to run as an Independent. I guess we’ll all find out what his decision is at tomorrow’s big announcement.