The Florida Republican Party issued a news release Tuesday confirming the widely expected news that Crist would seek election to the Senate, The Miami Herald reported.
"Here in Florida, we've shown that when we put people first and work together, much can be accomplished, and I intend to bring that same approach to Washington," Crist said in the statement. "That is why, after thoughtful consideration with my wife Carole, I have decided to run for the U.S. Senate."
Moments after Crist issued his announcement, the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- in a rare endorsement before a party primary election -- backed Crist over former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who has positioned himself as a staunch conservative in the GOP contest, the Herald said.
"While I believe Marco Rubio has a very bright future within the Republican Party, Charlie Crist is the best candidate in 2010 to ensure that we maintain the checks and balances that Floridians deserve in the United States Senate," said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who serves as NRSC chairman.