Democrats Not Enthused by Charlie Crist's Bid For Florida Governor Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., speaks to supporters during a campaign rally as he announces his run for Florida governor, Tuesday, May 4, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 07 May 2021 02:29 PM
Some Democrats are not expressing much excitement over Rep. Charlie Crist’s announced bid to be Florida governor again.
The Hill noted Crist is running in the shadow of other prominent Democrats who are considering entering the race. They include: Rep. Val Demmings, D-Fla., and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — widely discussed potential candidates to try to take on Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.
Crist, who was Florida's Republican governor for a single term before running for other offices, is seeking the state’s highest office once again — this time as a Democrat, according to The Associated Press.
Crist served in the state senate through the 1990s, then decided take on then-U.S. Sen. Bob Graham — one of Florida's most popular politicians. Crist lost.
The wire service noted that after that, Crist served as state education commissioner, then as Florida attorney general. He was elected 44th governor of Florida in 2006.
Next on the list was a 3-way race against Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in 2010, in which Crist ran as independent. Rubio won reelection.
Then, after becoming a Democrat, Crist in 2014 ran for governor but lost to then-incumbent Gov. Rick Scott, R.
Crist has some built-in advantages in terms of name recognition, and a strong fund-raising network, said Aubrey Jewett, political science professor at the University of Central Florida.
However, some Democrats argue he is abandoning his House seat as the party is fighting to maintain control of the House.
"He's run for statewide office now, what? Half a dozen times?" said one Florida Democrat operative who spoke to The Hill on the condition of anonymity. That’s not how we beat DeSantis — with the same old, same old."
State Rep. Andrew Learned, a Democrat, tweeted after Crist announced his candidacy: "And so it begins. … I'm sure I'll have friends on both sides of many races in the months ahead, and I wish all luck and a clean campaign. We cannot lose focus on the real threat to our democracy, getting shots into arms, and dollars in pockets!"
The Hill noted Fried held a press conference about the same time as Crist was making his announcement.
Fried expressed concern that Crist’s House seat is now at risk of falling into Republican hands.
"I’ve had communications with Congressman Crist, and it’s a time when we need his voice and his vote up in Washington, D.C.," she said. "His seat is one that probably only Charlie Crist can hold on to, so really would like to have encouraged him to stay in Congress, but certainly today is Charlie’s day and wish him the best."