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A recent statement from a Democratic candidate eyeing the Florida governor’s seat has opened the door for COVID-19 to remain a central issue in the race against incumbent Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
Video obtained by Fox News Digital shows former Florida Governor and current Congressman Charlie Crist, D-Fla., telling attendees at a campaign event in Wilton Manors, Fla., that if elected, he would would be open to a statewide mask mandate.
An attendee at the event asked, “Congressman, thank you for coming. You mentioned the pandemic. I hope it’s behind us. But as Governor of Florida, would you be open to the obligation or regulation of masks?”
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“I would be prepared to do what the scientists advise – not the political scientists,” Crist replied. “Yes. I just read an article this morning. I’m glad you brought it up. So I’m going to the airport right after that. I’m going to Orlando, and I’m going to wear a mask on the plane. You don’t have to do this anymore, but I will because Florida is on the upswing that started this week. And it’s not even the Omicron B2. It’s a new variant.”
This isn’t the first time Crist has signaled his support for COVID mandates. In July 2021, he said he would support mask mandates and lockdowns, similar to the strict measures in place at the start of the pandemic.
A Florida judge earlier this month dismissed the Biden The administration’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention mask mandate for public transportation passengers.
Crist’s statements on the masks come after his main Democratic opponent Nikki Fried tweeted his support for the end of the federal mandate of the masks.
Earlier in April, a maskless Fried gave a peace sign to her selfie camera in a tweet.
“Peace to the TSA Mask Mandatebut also peace and respect for others whether they wear a mask or not,” she captioned the tweet.
“I’ll read all of your takes, but warrants are dropped, vaccines are working, things are back to normal, and that’s fine for a Democrat to say so — because we made it happen. Love you all,” she wrote.
DeSantis, who has never imposed a statewide mask mandate at any time during the pandemic and is running for a second term as governor in 2022, has adamantly opposed enforcing the strict COVID restrictions.
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“Florida has led the country in standing up to the federal government’s misguided policies and fighting against authoritarian mandates that have no scientific backing,” he said recently after the carrier mask mandate was struck down. Federal CDC.
Florida GOP Vice Chairman Christian Ziegler told Fox News Digital, “Charlie Crist being ‘open’ to imposing mask mandates is one of the most out of touch positions Crist has ever taken, this which really means something.”
“Americans are flocking to Florida, and the Republican Party of Florida is dominating voter registration thanks in large part to Governor DeSantis fighting back and protecting us from ridiculous, anti-science mask mandates and COVID tyrants like Charlie Crist,” said continued Ziegler.
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Recent vote found that most Americans (62%) do not want mask mandates to return and only 34% supported them. Additionally, only 12% of Republicans said they would support additional COVID restrictions at this point in the pandemic.
In March, Fox News Digital reported that registered Republican voters now outnumbered Democrats by more than 100,000 in Florida for the first time in state history.
The Crist campaign and the Florida Democratic Party did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment on how they view the issue of COVID mandates in the gubernatorial race.
It’s unclear whether the Florida Democratic Party will support Fried or Crist on the issue. Florida’s primary election will not take place until the end of August.