Familiar Face in Governor's Race: Charlie Crist Announces Another Bid for Florida Office

Crist aims to win back the seat he held from 2007 to 2011 from the state’s current Governor, Ron DeSantis

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One of Florida’s former Governors has decided he wants the office once again.

Charlie Crist, who served one term as the Governor as a Republican before eventually switching to an Independent and later becoming a Democrat, announced on social media Tuesday he will seek that party’s nomination for the office.

Crist is expected to make a formal announcement later Tuesday morning at an event in his hometown of St. Petersburg.

In the video, Crist cited his work in Tallahassee - including cutting property taxes, lowering prescription drug costs and restoring voting rights for former prisoners - while criticizing current Gov. Ron DeSantis, particularly over his handling of the COVID pandemic in the state.

"I worked with President Biden to get more vaccines in more arms and funding for our schools to get them open safely," Crist said before ending the video with, "That is a Florida for all and that is why I'm running for Governor."

The current U.S. Representative from a district in Pinellas County, Crist aims to try and win back the seat he held from 2007 to 2011 from DeSantis.

A graduate of Florida State University and Samford University’s law school, Crist spent time as a lawyer before being elected as a Republican to the State Senate in 1992. Crist was later the state’s Education Commissioner and Attorney General before being elected Governor in 2006.

While a conservative on many issues during his time in Tallahassee, Crist leaned moderate as his career moved on and pushed the Republican Party to seek more support from minority groups. In 2010, Crist announced he would not seek re-election and would instead run for Florida’s open seat in the United States Senate.

Crist was the favorite in the race before losing his lead to the man who would win the office, West Miami native Marco Rubio.

Crist had switched his party affiliation to Independent before the Senate election and would make national headlines when he endorsed the re-election bid of President Barack Obama in 2012.

He eventually switched his party affiliation again to become a Democrat and released the book The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.

After several years as a lawyer, Crist won a seat in Congress in 2016 and was later reelected in both 2018 and 2020.  He has maintained a more moderate voting record, but did vote both times for the impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

Crist looks to become the first Democrat to hold the office since Buddy McKay – who served 25 days following the death of former Gov. Lawton Chiles.

DeSantis has yet to officially announce a reelection bid, but he is widely expected to do so. All statewide offices are up for election next year, as is the U.S. Senate seat now held by Marco Rubio.

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