In what some see as a prelude to an independent campaign for Senate, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) on Thursday vetoed an education bill favored by his current party.

According to the St. Petersburg Times:

After weeks of protest and a deluge of messages, Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday vetoed a bill that would link teacher pay to student test scores and wipe out tenure for new teachers.

His decision, announced in a noon news conference at the Capitol, came as little surprise. Although Crist initially voiced support for Senate Bill 6, he had distanced himself over the past week as protests mounted.

"We must start over," Crist said.

Crist explained that the content of the bill and "manner of its adoption" was "significantly flawed."

"To make such changes, we must have the patience and the wisdom to communicate effectively with the people," he said.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has endorsed Crist, but as signs of a potential independent candidacy have emerged, NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) publicly urged Crist to sign the bill.

A Quinnipiac poll out today shows Crist leading Marco Rubio 32-30 if he runs as an independent, while he trails Rubio 56-33 in a GOP primary.