Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL), who has been trailing badly in his Republican primary for Senate, has just vetoed a signature Republican-backed education bill in Florida — a sign that he could potentially break with his party and run for the Senate as an independent.
The legislation, which was passed through the Republican legislature in the face of massive protests from teachers, would have abolished tenure for new teachers and instituted strict merit pay guidelines. It was heavily supported by conservatives both inside and outside the legislature, notably former Gov. Jeb Bush.
There has been much speculation about whether Crist might abandon his GOP primary — the TPM Poll Average gives Rubio a lead of 59.1%-27.9% –Â and run as an independent. And many media reports have pointed to Crist’s choice of signing or vetoing this bill as a key indicator. A Quinnipiac poll this morning suggested that Crist could potentially win a three-way race as an independent.Late Update Crist has posted his official veto message, explaining the reasons that he is rejecting the legislation, on his Facebook account.
In addition, Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos gives TPMDC this comment: “Like reformers across Florida, Marco supports better pay for good teachers, as this bill would have done. Once again, Charlie Crist has broken his word and put his political interests ahead of doing what’s best for Florida’s children.”