DeSantis and Crist in the race for Governor of Florida : Live coverage : Primaries 2022 : NPR
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Democrat and longtime politician Charlie Crist has won Florida’s gubernatorial primary and will face Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in November, according to a race call from The Associated Press.
Crist served as Republican Governor of Florida more than a decade ago and is now a Democrat in the United States House of Representatives.
The gubernatorial primary highlighted a split within the state’s Democratic party. Crist’s challenger, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, hammered him on his record as governor and for changing his stance on issues like abortion and criminal justice.
Crist outplayed Fried and came out as a moderate by presenting himself as the most likely person to beat DeSantis in November. He tried to woo unaffiliated voters and disgruntled Republicans and won the endorsement of major Democratic-leaning groups like the state teachers’ union.
When it comes to winning elections, Crist has a mixed record. He left the Republican Party in 2010 to run as an independent against Marco Rubio in the US Senate. He made another gubernatorial run as a Democrat in 2014, but lost about a percentage point to Republican Rick Scott – now a US senator.
Now that the dust has settled on the Democratic primary, Crist will face DeSantis in November.
The powerful governor is rumored to be eyeing a presidential race in 2024. He has raised his national profile and has more than $100 million in the bank. DeSantis has become known for his battles over education, including the way teachers talk to students about race, history and LGBTQ people. He has pushed for new laws that restrict how conversations around these topics take place in public school classrooms and even in businesses.
If he wants to win in November, Crist will have to sway some of the nearly 4 million unaffiliated voters in Florida. Registered Republicans now outnumber registered Democrats in the state, but statewide races have often been close. DeSantis, himself, gained by about a percentage point in 2018.