Crist, a two-term congressman who served as state governor more than a decade ago, has not officially jumped into the race. But he reached out to political consultants, big donors such as famous lawyer John Morgan, longtime friends like Broward Mayor Steve Geller and other politicians about whether he should try to get the post he once occupied. Along the way, some of his former allies are starting to work with other potential Democratic candidates.
When asked if he is the right candidate at the moment, Crist retorts, “I have two words: Joe Biden. Look at what happened in our last election.
Although Biden managed to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency, he lost to President Donald Trump in Florida, and the GOP won both congressional and legislative seats in an election that some consider to be proof that Florida is losing its reputation as the nation’s largest battlefield state. .
Crist’s political development over the past three decades has shown him to be a survivor. As a Republican, he rose from state senator to attorney general to win the governor’s race in 2006. Part of his rise included a tough on crime figure who earned him the nickname “Chain Gang Charlie.” He’s been seen a rising star and has even been mentioned as a possible running mate with John McCain.
But instead of anticipating the anger that sparked the Tea Party movement, Crist made the unfortunate decision to (literally) hug then-President Barack Obama and congratulate him on the stimulus package that was imposed. during the Great Recession. Within a few years, Crist became independent, lost a race for the US Senate to Marco Rubio, and briefly left politics before changing parties and running for governor again.
Crist’s path to yet another statewide election will likely be very different this time around. Instead of a primary where he is challenged by a lone Democratic lawmaker, he could face a line of contenders, including current Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Geller, a former state lawmaker and someone who has known Crist since they were both at Florida State University, said he was concerned Crist and one or two other centrist candidates of the Biden wing of the party divides the vote and allows a progressive to win. the primary only to lose the general election.
“I love Nikki (Fried),” Geller said. “If Charlie isn’t running, I could easily support her. But I think Charlie is a stronger candidate because he was a candidate for governor before.
Morgan, who once hired Crist to work at his famous law firm Morgan & Morgan and remains a close friend, said he warned Crist that it wouldn’t be easy to bring down DeSantis even if he succeeded in a Democratic primary. Morgan said by the time of the 2022 election, the coronavirus pandemic could be in the “rearview mirror” and criticisms of DeSantis’ handling of the crisis could lose their head.
“DeSantis is a cold fish and not hot and fuzzy, but do we need hot and fuzzy?” asked Morgan, who recently welcomed Crist to his Maui home. “I presented these arguments to Charlie. What would be your rallying cry? When you run, you are asking the electorate to fire them for doing a bad job. “