Florida governor Charlie Crist, who is widely rumored to be considering running for the U.S. Senate as an independent. Crist told reporters Monday he is listening to advice in that direction. (photo: MSNBC)
Florida Governor Charlie Crist gave ground Monday to the spreading rumors that he is considering abandoning his Republican party affiliation to run as an independent in the upcoming U.S. Senate race.
After abruptly pulling his television ads from several markets early Monday, he sat down with reporter Sarina Fazan of ABC Action News in Tampa and responded to questions about the direction of his campaign.
"I can tell you I'm getting a lot of advice in that direction. I'm a listener and so I'm certainly listening to it," he said. "I am certainly listening to people's counsel and advice because I think that is the smart thing to do."
The Associated Press is also reporting they spoke to the governor by telephone Monday. According to the AP, Crist said, "I care what my fellow Floridians think and what their thoughts are much more than anybody from Washington."
Crist is trailing 23 points behind GOP opponent Marco Rubio in a race where he was initially well ahead. Several Republicans, including Mitt Romney who has been campaigning with Rubio, are urging Crist to get out of the race rather than run as an independent.
The Florida governor has until April 30th to make up his mind. Smart money is on Crist to stay in the race.
UPDATE: The Palm Beach Post is reporting that Crist's campaign chair resigned late Tuesday, citing all references to GOP had been stripped from the Crist for Senate official website.
On the Web:
Crist listening to suggestions he run as an independent (video) - ABC Action News
Ignoring DC pressure, Crist mulls independent run - Associated Press