"Whereas yesterday my primary opponent was one supporter of wasteful stimulus spending, tax increases, cap-and-trade energy taxes, liberal judges and abortion, I now look forward to debating issues and ideas with Governor Crist and Congressman Meek, who share the same unhealthy appetite for more government, more spending and higher taxes."
Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio
"Our two Republican opponents are architects of Florida's failed economy, both favor more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporate special interests as their only economic proposal, and both are involved in the same income tax evasion scandal. A hard working, hands-on leader is what Florida needs now, not bickering politicians."
Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek
"I am not surprised. This decision is not about policy or principles. It is about what he believes is in his political self-interest."
Former Gov. Jeb Bush
"After facing political threats and intimidation by Republican leaders, Charlie Crist once again put the people of Florida first over partisan politics and the mean-spirited, vindictive demands of the current Florida GOP leadership."
Former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer
"This is one of the biggest betrayals in American history since Benedict Arnold."
State Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami
"While not surprised by his decision, I am deeply disappointed Governor Crist has left the Republican Party. It is a short-sighted maneuver that directly contradicts his previous pledges to remain in the primary race."
Attorney General Bill McCollum, candidate for governor
"He cares about everyone in the state of Florida, not just Republicans. I wish we had more politicians like that."
State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey
"It's ironic that just two years ago, before Republicans turned their back on Charlie Crist, the party was proud to say he was their rising star, and John McCain had considered him for the Republican Party's vice presidential nomination. But only two years after being the party's standard bearer, John McCain himself, like Crist, finds himself in a bitter primary with a Tea Party candidate. There is now no question that the Tea Party has taken hold of the Republican Party and that its ideological litmus tests trump any efforts to serve the best interests of all Americans."
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine
"As a lifelong Republican I am committed to supporting my party and the principles I have fought for my entire life. I will support the Republican nominee for United States Senate."
Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp
"He's an honest man. He's a good man. He loves what he does. He produces for all of us."
Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco
"Charlie's a leader. He's not doing what's right for one political party. He's doing what's best for the state — like standing up for teachers, and keeping oil drilling away from Florida."
St. Petersburg City Council member Wengay Newton
"Charlie Crist, you've got linguini for a spine."
Radio personality Rush Limbaugh
"He's making John Kerry look like the rock of Gibraltar."
State Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne
"For years Charlie Crist has claimed to be 'for the people,' but today's announcement was not about 'the people' or about policy, it was about Charlie Crist and his political aspirations."
RPOF Chairman John Thrasher
"Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio are the two latest casualties of a divided Republican Party cannibalizing itself. As usual, Charlie Crist is putting his political ambition first and Marco Rubio is threatening to impose his extreme philosophical agenda."
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez
"Over the years, (Crist) has served this party well, which is why his decision to run as an independent is so disappointing. To be sure, he left this party. This party did not leave him. His decision will in no way impede our path to victory in Florida."
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele
"The odds (of Crist winning) are like a million percent better than if he were running as a Republican. Now he's free without any loyalty to any organization, party or ideology to just come out and be an absolute and total populist."
Republican political operative Brett Doster
"Charlie Crist left the Republican Party a long time ago — today he finally had the courage to make it official."
State House Majority Leader Adam Hasner
"The question for Floridians is whether he will keep his word about all of the new promises he makes. Elections are about trust and frankly, it is unclear whether Governor Crist deserves any."
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
"Despite his difficulties in the Republican primary, we were loyally working for him as long as he was a Republican. With his announcement that he is not running as a Republican, we will no longer be involved."
Crist pollster Glen Bolger
"He has been a great governor. I endorse the person."
State Sen. Thad Altman, R-Viera