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Charlie Crist won’t run for Florida U.S. Senate seat in 2016

The Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat announces his decision in a Facebook post

florida mugTAMPA (CFP) — Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist says he will not seek a U.S. Senate seat from the Sunshine State in 2016, ending media speculation that he might jump into the race.

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist

“I will not be seeking office in 2016, but I will be working alongside you,” Crist said in a brief Facebook message posted March 16. “Too much is at stake for our beautiful Florida to be on the sidelines.”

The seat is currently held by Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who is expected to announce in April whether he will give it up to seek the Republican presidential nomination. Rubio’s departure would likely trigger a wide-open race in politically competitive Florida.

The decision not to run comes just four months after Crist, running as a Democrat, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott.

Crist, 58, was elected governor in 2006 as a Republican. In 2010, he opted to seek a Senate seat, rather than run for re-election. After it was clear he would lose to Rubio in the primary, Crist bolted the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as an independent. He became a Democrat in 2012.

Had Crist run for the Senate, he would have likely faced a battle in the Democratic primary with U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, is also reportedly considering the race.

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