Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist has decided he will run as an independent in the race to fill the Florida U.S. Senate seat, Crist allies tell Fox News. The official announcement is scheduled for Thursday at 5pm ET in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Senate campaign has been rough and tumble for Crist, he was once the front-runner -- but in recent months began trailing his GOP opponent, Tea Party favorite and former Florida State Speaker Marco Rubio. Rubio has been able to turn a 30-point deficit in the polls into a 30 point lead over Crist.
Crist has said that under no circumstance would he drop out of the race, saying he will do what is best for the voters of Florida. The governor says Republicans in Washington want him to stay in the Republican party but voters in Florida have told him they want him to run as an independent.
Both Crist and Rubio would have won the general election handily but in a three way race it's now wide open. The Democratic nominee is Kendrick Meek.