As suspected, Florida Governor Charlie Christ will bolt the Republican party and make a third party run for U.S. Senate from Florida. Crist, once a shoe-in for the Republican nomination, now knows he has no chance against former State House Speaker Marco Rubio for the Republican nomination, who has surged ahead in the polls by running to Crist's right. This race will, as the Wall Street Journal points out, indeed become one of the most closely watched in the country.
The Republican party has great anxiety about the Tea Party Movement, fearing it will pull the party too far to the right. Some party leaders believe they now see their worst fears playing out in Florida; a hard right candidate earns the nomination, the centrist candidate runs third party and hands the seat to the Democrat. It may happen that way. Crist believes he can win a third party race. Or, Rubio could win it. Whatever happens this race is shaping up to be the litmus test for the clout of the Tea Party Movement and would long term impact it will have on American Politics.