By Kenneth Harvey
Originally published on Advocate.com April 29 2010 5:30 PM ET
Florida governor Charlie Crist announced he is running for U.S. Senate
as an independent today at a St. Petersburg campaign event.
The rally was described as a general election kickoff for a showdown between three candidates — Crist, Republican Marco Rubio, and Democrat Kendrick Meek.
CNN reports that Republican staffers are expected to leave Crist's campaign.
"This is unprecedented in Florida, and I would say unprecedented in the country," said Justin Sayfie, editor of SayfieReview.com, an online news source for political news in Florida.
Crist was attacked for endorsing President Obama's stimulus package, a strategy that forced him to quit the GOP primary because he lost support from the party's conservative base.
"You can't compare this to Joe Lieberman in Connecticut or Jesse Ventura in Minnesota or anything like that, because now we are going to have a sitting incumbent governor running as an independent candidate against two traditional party candidates," Sayfie said. "There is no textbook example of how you win a race like that."
Crist was one of several politicians covered in director Kirby Dick's documentary Outrage, which reported on closeted politicians with ant-gay voting records. Crist has publicly opposed marriage equality and adoption by gay couples.