Fox News: Crist to announce independent run tomorrow

So be it, Jedi.

Fox News has learned that Charlie Crist has decided and plans to announce that he is running as an Independent for the U.S. Senate. The official announcement is scheduled at 5pm in St. Petersburg, Florida tomorrow.

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. Crist 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.

I’ve given you this quote before but I’m going to give it to you again. Also from Fox News, exactly one month ago today:

WALLACE: So are you ruling out that you will file as an independent by the April 30th deadline?

CRIST: That’s right. That’s right. I’m running as a Republican.

WALLACE: You will run not for a governor — you’ll run for Senate, and you will run as a — in the Republican primary.

CRIST: Chris, I’m running for the United States Senate. I know that our country needs help. I’m running as a Republican. This man to my left is a friend but I hope to defeat him on August the 24th, and I would encourage every Florida Republican to get out and vote.

WALLACE: Will you support the winner of the GOP primary, whether it’s you or Marco Rubio?

CRIST: Of course I will. Of course I will. But I think before that decision is made, people–

WALLACE: Well, I’m going to get — I’m going to — I’ll give you an opportunity for a final statement. I just want to say, though, you are saying you are going to run in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. You will not run on the no party affiliation line.

CRIST: That’s right. That’s right. That’s what I’m saying.

Incumbency, careerism, and lies: The perfect candidate for 2010. WaPo claims his team ran an internal poll this week that showed a path to victory, but read this persuasive Rich Lowry analysis about why it’s likely all downhill from here. Remember Nate Silver’s point, too, about strategic voting in a close three-way race: So long as both Rubio and Kendrick Meek are in the thick of it on Election Day, centrists on both sides of the aisle will feel enormous pressure to defect from Crist and vote as partisans to stop the opposing party’s “extremist” candidate. Which is why, I suspect, Crist’s initial attacks will focus on Meek. Rubio’s going to get ~35 percent no matter what, so the quicker Crist can marginalize the Democrat and convince the lefty base that Meek is hopeless, the likelier he is to capitalize on strategic voting himself.

Stand by for updates. While we wait, Rubio already has a switcheroo-themed pledge drive in full swing on his website. You know what to do.

Update: An early candidate for quote of the day. Who said it? “Well, I probably shouldn’t say this. But I have thought from time to time that I might have helped the country more if I’d stayed a Republican.”

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