SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s official: U.S. Representative Charlie Crist says he is jumping into the 2022 Florida gubernatorial race.
Crist made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter:
"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," he tweeted.
Crist is set to speak Tuesday morning in St. Petersburg.
He would not be a stranger at the Florida governor's mansion. From 2007-2011 he served the state as governor. He was elected as a Republican.
In 2010, he ran for the U.S. Senate as an unaffiliated candidate and lost.
Then in 2012, Crist announced he was joining the Democratic party.
He lost the 2014 gubernatorial election to Gov. Rick Scott.
In 2016, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he has served Florida's 13th Congressional District ever since.
The former Florida attorney general and governor is the first Democrat to officially announce a run for governor against incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022.
DeSantis took a jab at his competitor Tuesday during a press conference when he had this to say about Crist's announcement:
“You know I didn’t realize—like ya know, like what party is he going to run in this time? I mean, he’s lost as a Republican, Independent, Democrat. But you know, I looked up, he’s voting with Nancy Pelosi 100-percent of the time in Congress. I thought heck maybe he gives the Green Party a chance, he’s certainly voting that way. So, we’ll see what happens.”
It’s not likely Crist will be the only Democrat tossing his hat in the ring. Politico reports Democratic insiders are talking about U.S. Rep. Val Demings from Orlando running, as well as Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Fried is the only state-level elected Democrat.
The Tampa Bay Times reports other potential candidates include state Senators Annette Taddeo and Randolph Bracy and state Representative Anna Esakmani.
St. Pete Rick Kriseman reacted to the announcement on Twitter, saying that his friend Crist "simply wants to give back and ensure that people, everyday Floridians, are always being put first."
The Florida GOP also released a statement on Crist's announcement from Executive Director Helen Aguirre Ferre:
"While Governor DeSantis put seniors first, kept our kids in school, and businesses open, Charlie Crist advocated for lockdowns, restrictions on businesses, and backed the teachers’ unions efforts to keep our kids from the classroom. Crist supports defunding the police and has voted 100% of the time for Nancy Pelosi’s radical agenda. He even betrayed those who fled communism when he embraced Castro regime officials in a secret trip to Cuba.”
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