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Florida Congressman Charlie Crist launches third gubernatorial candidacy


Florida Democratic Congressman and former Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist on Tuesday launched his campaign to try to reclaim the governor’s mansion.

“I am running so you will be in charge again. So you will have a governor who will work for the people with a firm hand and an open heart. This is a time based on consensus rather than division. To restore civility to the people. instead of demonizing those who have a different point of view. Together we will build a Florida for all, “he said on Tuesday at the launch of his campaign in St. Petersburg.

Crist was first governor of Florida, as a Republican, from 2007 to 2011. After an unsuccessful attempt to be the state’s GOP candidate for a Senate seat in 2010, Crist became a Democrat in 2012. He lost to Republican Rick Scott in Governor of Florida in 2014. 1 percentage point run.

He was elected in the 13th District of Florida in 2016, winning the St. Petersburg region seat by 3.5 points. He widened his margin to double digits in 2018 but gained 6 points in 2020. Her previous opponent, Republican Anna Paulina Luna, announced her own campaign to Congress on Tuesday morning.

Florida is set to acquire a seat in Congress this decade, according to distribution figures released by the Census Bureau at the end of April. The GOP legislature controls the redistribution of lines and could reconfigure the 13th district to make it more accessible to a Republican candidate.

Crist told supporters on Tuesday his administration would focus on voting rights, expanding Medicaid, tackling the threat of climate change and investing in education. He also denounced the management of the COVID-19 pandemic by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

“How many lives would have been saved if Governor DeSantis listened to scientists and medical experts? If he had simply promoted a mask-wearing and social distancing policy instead of a political agenda?” Crist said.

“How many small businesses would have been saved if Governor DeSantis recognized that the key to rebuilding our economy is not politics? It defeats the virus and keeps people safe.”

Florida ranks 27th for COVID deaths per 100,000 people and 23rd for cases per 100,000 people, according to CDC data.

While Crist and other Democrats have criticized DeSantis’ COVID policy, conservatives have widely praised his handling of the pandemic. On Monday, DeSantis issued an executive order suspending all local COVID-19 emergency warrants and banning those warrants from July 1. He also signed a bill prohibiting companies and other entities from requiring so-called “vaccine passports”.

And Crist may also be faced with a crowded Democratic primary field. Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only Democrat elected in the entire state of Florida, were mentioned as possible candidates.

Demings posted a campaign video Tuesday morning which highlighted his path to Congress and his place on President Biden’s runner-up candidate last summer. In April, she retweeted a Tweet of ex-Florida Congresswoman Debbie Murcarsel-Powell, who said, “It’s time for Florida to elect a WOMAN to governor.”

Fried has frequently targeted DeSantis and Florida Republicans over political initiatives, such as taxes and voting rights, and the state of the GOP. Tuesday morning, she commented on a tweet from a reporter who said she was thinking when Crist said Florida was desperate for “more leaders like Nikki.”

“Me too. :)” Fried said.

The candidate who emerges from the Democratic primary field will face a formidable challenge when taking on DeSantis. Republicans have won almost every national election in the past 10 years. Former President Trump has won the state twice, including a three-point victory in November.

“Floridians have twice rejected Crist as a statewide candidate, and whether in the Democratic primary or the general they will do the same this time,” the spokeswoman said. ‘Association of Republican Governors, Joanna Rodriguez.

DeSantis is widely seen as a potential 2024 GOP candidate and will likely attract top Republican agents to work on his re-election efforts. Its political committee raised $ 8.3 million in February and March. The committee started April with about $ 17.7 million in cash. A late February poll found DeSantis had a 53% approval rating.

The Florida legislature just wrapped up a session in which it passed bills targeting several key conservative issues, including election laws, punishing social media companies for banning elected officials a bill so- saying “riot control” and banning trans women and female sports.

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