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Rep. Charlie Crist resigns from Congress early to focus on race for governor

The former Florida governor is facing off against Republican incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is resigning from Congress as he continues to campaign for governor across Florida. In the August primary, just last week, he defeated current Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to become the Democratic nominee in the gubernatorial race. 

Crist, who was previously governor of Florida as a Republican, will face GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.

Crist's resignation from Congress will take effect at the end of the day Wednesday, his office confirmed to 10 Tampa Bay. The news was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

“Serving as the Representative of Florida’s 13th Congressional District has been an honor and a privilege,” Crist said in a statement“When I first took office nearly six years ago, I vowed to defend our Veterans, bring jobs to Florida, fight climate change, and put people over politics. As I close out my time in Congress, I could not be prouder of the work we’ve done to uphold those promises – passing legislation to support our veterans, expanding solar energy in the Sunshine State, securing millions in direct funding for community projects, and returning over $6 million in earned benefits to the people of Pinellas.

“But these achievements start and end with you, the people – my bosses – who have guided my work in Congress since Day One. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for trusting me as your Representative in Washington. And God Bless the great people of Florida’s 13th Congressional District.”

He has been representing Florida's 13th Congressional District, which represents part of Pinellas County. He was first elected in 2016 to the seat, then subsequently reelected in 2018 and 2020. 

The race for Crist's now-vacated seat is between Republican nominee Anna Paulina Luna and Democratic nominee Eric Lynn, whom Crist has endorsed.

Crist began his political career as a Republican, serving in the Florida Senate, as Florida Education Commissioner and Florida Attorney General. He served as Florida’s governor from 2007-2011 and joined the Democratic party in 2012 after endorsing former President Barack Obama for reelection.

The road to Tallahassee is rooted in Pinellas County as both DeSantis and Crist are from the area. DeSantis grew up in Dunedin and Crist is from St. Petersburg.

Previous 10 Tampa Bay coverage contributed to this report.

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