Published: Apr 27, 2010 11:38 AM EDT

Time is running out for Governor Charlie Crist to decide his next campaign move.  He only has until Friday to decide if he'll run as a Republican, an Independent, or at all.  His choice could have a major impact on other Republicans in the state.

Governor Crist has a tough choice to make: 
Run as an Independent for U.S. Senate, and risk losing his Republican backing, or continue on and risk losing to Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio in the GOP primary.
     
Crist has until the end of the week to make his decision.

Not since 1916 has an independent candidate been successful in a statewide race.
    
State Senator Mike Haridopolos is setting the stage for party leaders to abandon Crist, if he chooses to run with no party behind him.
     
A memo, sent out by the GOP, warns other elected and party officials not to support an independent candidacy, or face being kicked out of the party.  Some Republicans call the memo heavy handed.

The biggest decision in the governor's political life will have to be made by noon on Friday  If he chooses the independent route, Crist will likely be asked to return some donations, but he is under no legal obligation to do so.

Related:

Crist announces run as independent candidate

Marco Rubio comments on 2010 U.S. senate election