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GOP watch: Crist-mas Day

The AP on Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's impending decision on whether to stay in the U.S. Senate race as a Republican or independent – or if he just drops his bid completely: "The very thing that once made Gov. Charlie Crist the clear Republican choice to run for U.S. Senate is also what will perhaps make it inevitable that he will eventually buck the party to run as an independent: his embrace -- literally and figuratively -- of bipartisanship." The AP: "[T]hree confidants have said he's already decided to abandon his long-shot GOP primary bid and run as an independent." 

The St. Pete Times: "Gov. Charlie Crist, a pariah in the Republican Party that has been vital to his success, will launch a risky political career today as a "people's candidate" for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation… It will be an extraordinary event in Florida's colorful political history, as a one-term governor who blew a 30-point lead in the Republican Senate primary is forced to run an unconventional race." 

"It's a long fall for Crist and the Republican leaders, who were initially enthusiastic about his Senate run," The Hill notes. 

The Orlando Sentinel: "Barring an eleventh-hour change of heart, Gov. Charlie Crist will turn Florida's U.S. Senate race on its head today by formally announcing he will run as an independent and leave the party that made him one of the most recognizable politicians in the state… He will begin campaigning almost immediately, having already scheduled a weekend fundraiser in South Florida, the sources said." 

Stu Rothenberg says that while there will be a saturation of media coverage on Crist's switch, there may be less political implications than meets the eye.