Rep. Charlie Crist becomes first prominent Democrat to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida

Rep. Charlie Crist, Florida Democrat, said Tuesday that he would challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reelection bid, becoming the first prominent Democratic challenger to take on the Republican incumbent.

Mr. Crist previously served as Florida’s Republican governor between 2007 and 2011 and later lost races for the U.S. Senate as an independent and as a Democrat. He later won election to the U.S. House as a Democrat and is now campaigning for governor as a Democrat.

“DeSantis is stripping away your voting rights, he’s against a $15 minimum wage, he doesn’t believe in background checks for guns, doesn’t believe in a women’s right to choose, doesn’t listen, doesn’t care, and unless you can write him a campaign check, you don’t exist,” Mr. Crist said in a video announcing his own campaign on Twitter. “The truth is no matter where you live in our state, if you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent, you deserve better than that.

Republicans cheered Mr. Crist’s decision to campaign for reelection, portraying his move as a sign that he’s not confident Democrats will keep control of Congress next year.

Charlie Crist can see the writing on the wall: The Democrats’ socialist agenda that includes eliminating private health insurance, trillion-dollar tax hikes, defunding the police and opening our borders will send his party back to the minority in 2022,” Camille Gallo, National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The Republican Governors Association sounded eager that Mr. Crist had entered the 2022 race for governor in Florida as a Democrat.

“The only thing about Charlie Crist that hasn’t changed since his last two runs for statewide office is that Florida still can’t trust Charlie,” Joanna Rodriguez, RGA spokesperson, said in a statement. “Floridians have rejected Crist as a statewide candidate twice already, and whether it’s in the Democratic primary or the general, they’ll do the same again this time.” 

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