DIGEST

Digest: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist ready to leave GOP, sources say

In East Montpelier, Vt., Tom Lawson and daughter Holly, 7, wait for the school bus. A storm dumped up to 18 inches of snow in the state.
In East Montpelier, Vt., Tom Lawson and daughter Holly, 7, wait for the school bus. A storm dumped up to 18 inches of snow in the state. (Toby Talbot/associated Press)

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

FLORIDA

Crist ready to leave GOP, sources say

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist plans to announce Thursday that he will run for the Senate as an independent, leaving the Republican Party and setting up a three-way fight in the fall, according to several sources briefed on his decision.

Sources close to Crist warned that he could change his mind at the last minute -- and has shown a propensity for doing just that. But they also described him as comfortable with his decision and not terribly conflicted, a mind-set that does not suggest he would reverse course.

Crist's nomination was once considered a sure thing, given his statewide popularity, but former state House speaker Marco Rubio (R) has ridden a wave of adoration from conservatives nationally to pass Crist in GOP polls. He also is raising more money than Crist.

-- Chris Cillizza

AIRLINE SAFETY

Veteran charged in diversion of plane

A 27-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran interfered with flight crew members and falsely claimed he had dynamite in his backpack aboard a Delta flight Tuesday from Paris to Atlanta, federal authorities charged Wednesday.

Delta Flight 273 was diverted to Bangor, Maine, where it landed safely. None of the 235 passengers and 13 crew members aboard were injured.

Derek Michael Stansberry of Riverview, Fla., was charged Wednesday in a criminal complaint in the District of Maine, U.S. Attorney Paula D. Silsby announced. Preliminary tests indicated traces of explosives on Stansberry's boots and checked luggage. No explosives were found on the plane or in luggage.

Stansberry faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty of interfering with the crew and up to five years on the false-threat charge.


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