Florida Popular GOP Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday he will run for U.S. Senate instead of re-election next year, a possible stepping stone to a presidential bid and a welcome jolt for a struggling Republican Party desperate to keep Florida in its column.
Crist, 52, instantly becomes the front-runner in the Senate race. He has maintained approval ratings in the high 60 percent range despite the state’s gloomy economy, budget cuts, a high foreclosure rate and the highest unemployment level since 1975. That popularity is credited to an unwavering optimism, bipartisan attitude and the projection of a sense that he cares.