Published: Apr 29, 2010 10:50 PM EDT

WASHINGTON  - Florida Democrat Kendrick Meek says he is now in a "commanding position" to win Florida's open Senate seat after Republican Gov. Charlie Crist said he was going to run as an independent.

Crist's Thursday announcement sets up a likely three-way race between Crist, Republican favorite Marco Rubio and Meek, the likely Democratic nominee.

Meek, a congressman from Miami, has stayed quiet as Crist and Rubio fought bitterly over the GOP nomination in recent months. Meek said Crist will have a hard time convincing anyone he's an independent and that Meek offers voters a clear alternative to two "bickering" Republicans.

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Crist announces run as independent candidate