U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist (R-13) announced he is running for governor in 2022. He is the first major Democratic opponent for Governor Ron DeSantis.
“Florida has a governor that’s only focused on his future, not yours,” said Crist in a campaign launch video.
Florida should be a place where hard work is rewarded, justice is equal, and opportunity is right in front of you. That's a Florida for all — and that's why I'm running for Governor.
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) May 4, 2021
Florida Democrats have reacted positively to Crist’s announcement, including St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman who has been a vocal opponent to DeSantis.
“Charlie Crist is my friend,” said Kriseman in a tweet. “Public service courses through his veins. No job has ever been too big or too small for him – he simply wants to give back and ensure that people, everyday Floridians, are always being put first.”
Crist touted his time as governor from 2007 to 2011, when he served one term, namely when he “cut property taxes for our seniors,” “lowered the cost of prescription drugs,” “restored voting rights for 150,000 Floridians,” and “protected 27,000 acres of the Everglades.”
He continued by blasting DeSantis’ handling of the COVID pandemic by saying 35,000 Floridians have died as a result of the pandemic.
The Republican Governors’ Association (RGA) came forward and criticized Crist for his previous tenure as governor.
“The only thing about Charlie Crist that hasn’t changed since his last two runs for statewide office is that Florida still can’t trust Charlie,” said RGA spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez. “Floridians have rejected Crist as a statewide candidate twice already, and whether it’s in the Democratic primary or the general they’ll do the same again this time.”
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and U.S. Rep. Val Demings (R-10) have also been rumored to be potential Democratic candidates in the gubernatorial race. Earlier this morning, Demings released a video highlighting her work as a police chief in Orlando and as a legislator. Fried has been releasing videos teasing a potential run by also criticizing DeSantis’ efforts as governor.
Crist has served in Florida politics for decades. He was elected to the Florida Senate as a Republican in 1992. Then in 2000, he was tapped as Florida’s education commissioner, elected attorney general in 2002, then governor in 2006.
Crist was a Republican for his entire political career until 2010 when he ran against Sen. Marco Rubio as an Independent. In 2012, he joined the Democrat Party and lost to Governor Rick Scott in the 2014 gubernatorial race. Since 2016, he has served in Congress as a Democrat.
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