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If Crist Runs as Independent, New Challenge for Kendrick Meek

The Quinnipiac poll released Thursday shows that if the general election for U.S. Senate were this week -- and if Charlie Crist opted to run as an independent -- he would earn a narrow victory (32 percent) over Marco Rubio (30), with Democratic frontrunner Kendrick Meek coming in third with 24 percent.

That's an eight-point deficit compared to the four points that Meek would have had to make up in a face-off against Rubio.

But for Meek, the most devastating ramification of a Crist run for independent is that it keeps Crist in the news through the fall general election season. We've already seen Meek struggle to get publicity during the Rubio-Crist soap opera. The one hope he had for staging a comeback was in those two months before the general, in which he stood to be the foil of a very conservative Rubio, allowing Meek to capture a huge pack of independent, moderate voters. That hope may soon be dashed.

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