Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s political prospects took a sharp downward turn after he man-hugged President Barack Obama in February 2009. And the emergence of the tea party movement — not to mention the boost it has given Crist’s main rival for election to the U.S. Senate, Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio — hasn’t helped Crist’s cause either.

For these and no doubt other reasons, Crist has decided to break with the Republican Party and run for the Senate as an independent candidate. Here’s what he had to say Thursday about his anticipated announcement. –KA

ABC News:

“My decision to run for the United States Senate as a candidate without party affiliation in many ways says more about our nation and our state, than it does about me,” Crist announced.

“For me it’s never been about doing what’s easy,” he said today, “it’s about doing what is right for the people first.”

“Unfortunately our our political system is broken,” he said. “I haven’t supported an idea because it’s a Republican idea or it’s a Democratic idea, I support ideas that I believe are good ideas for the people.”

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