Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton told me this morning that he and his fellow chairs plan to meet tomorrow night with former Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion to discuss his potential run for mayor on their ballot line next year.

Carrion’s name has been in the mix for a while now. But this morning’s report by the NYT made it official: Carrion has left the Democratic Party and plans to follow lame duck Mayor Bloomberg’s 2001 blueprint of seeking the GOP and Independence Party nods to avoid the crowded and potentially messy Democratic primary.

Unlike Bloomberg, who changed his enrollment from Democrat to GOP in 2000 before his first mayoral run and became a blank in 2007 in advance of a never-realized White House bid, Carrion has decided to skip the second step and go directly to the third. He’ll be running in 2013 as an independent.

The Times said Carrion’s party switch had occurred “recently,” but also said he would need the approval of three of the five NYC GOP chairs to run on Row B, which seems to indicate that he didn’t make the pre-election deadline and will need a Wilson Pakula (official permission) from the Republican leaders. (Incidentally, he’ll need the same thing from the Independence Party).

UPDATE: A reader reminds me: “Assuming Carrion really switched from D to a blank, he would need a Wilson-Pakula no matter when he switched – since he wouldn’t be a Republican. An interesting question, though, if is if he switched to the Independence Party, in which case he would NOT need a Wilson-Pakula to run on the I line.” Good point. I’ll follow up.

UPDATE 2: Carrion spokesman/adviser David Goldin confirmed Carrion is now a small-i independent, or, in other words, a “blank” with no party affiliation, and so requires Wilson Pakulas from any party to run on its ballot line.

Carrion, who took a pass on a run for mayor back in 2009, dropping down to the comptroller’s race and then abandoning the city altogether for a job with the Obama administration, returned to the private sector last January. His departure from the Obama administration was interpreted as a signal that he indeed wanted to take another crack at public life.

He already has the support of one GOP chairman. Brooklyn’s Craig Eaton spoke glowingly of Carrion when I reached him on his cell phone this morning, calling him “uniquely qualified to run for mayor and be successful in the race.”

“In a lot of ways, his candidacy is a game changer in the City of New York,” Eaton told me. “…He’s Hispanic, but I don’t think it’s the sole reason why he’s an interesting and an intriguing candidate.”

“He’s a proven commodity. He served on the City Council, in the White House, at HUD, as borough president. He has a proven track record raising money. He’s well spoken and has a great personality. He has a lot of attributes we need in the city of to win the mayoral election in 2013. Quite frankly, I’m excited about his candidacy.”

“…The Republican Party reached a new low in the 2012 elections,” Eaton continued. “And it’s incumbent on us as chairmen to not only select a candidate that we like, but a candidate who has the best chance of winning. If we do not put a Republican in City Hall in 2013, there will be Democrat control of the White House, the governor’s mansion and City Hall. That’s a recipe for disaster.”

As the Times noted, though enrolled Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York City by more than six to one, no Democrat has won the mayoralty since David Dinkins in 1989. (Unless, of course, you count Bloomberg).

Carrion would be the city’s first Hispanic mayor – a fact that is not lost on his GOP boosters, particularly since the party failed so spectacularly last week in capturing the Latino vote in the presidential race and quite clearly needs to make inroads with that key voting bloc ASAP.

There are several other party switchers angling for the GOP nod in next year’s mayor’s race, including supermarket/oil mogul John Catsimatidis (he made the change in preparation for a 2009 mayoral bid, but then dropped out when Bloomberg announced he would push to overturn term limits and run again); DOE Fund founder George McDonald; and Manhattan Media executive Tom Allon,

In addition, Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Queens Democrat, has been chatting up the GOP chairs in hopes that they’ll give their ballot line to him next year.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, a registered Republican, has been talked about as a potential mayoral contender since his success in bringing the subway system back on line after Sandy.

And, of course, there’s always the possibility of some yet-unknown self-financing type throwing his (or her) hat into the ring.

But the GOP chairs hope to settle on a candidate sooner rather than later. Manhattan Chairman Dan Isaacs told me this morning he’d like to have this whole discussion wrapped up by Christmas. He hasn’t yet met Carrion, calling him a “real unknown” during a brief phone interview this morning and adding, “I have to sit down, look the man in the eye and see what he’s made of.”

Carrion still has $1.1 million in his campaign committee. He also has some baggage.

Last year, he was fined $10,000 by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board for using an architect on a personal renovation project who was also involved in a large housing development that required his approval.

Eaton brushed off that incident, saying it was an issue Carrion “acknowledged and resolved already; he didn’t run away from it.”

“Look at the track record of the Democratic Party and all the other issues the Democrats have, including the candidates for mayor,” Eaton added. “I can’t see how that’s going to be a big issue. It was a blip on the radar screen.”