Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida announced Tuesday that he will not be seeking reelection to Congress but instead plans to launch his third bid to be governor of the Sunshine State, a position he last held nearly 12 years ago, Breitbart reported.
While Crist claimed his primary focus was to replace Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), an argument could be made that he is also seeking to avoid a potentially embarrassing loss in his congressional district.
Whatever the case, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) had placed Crist on its increasingly prescient “exit list” of targeted Democratic House members who were expected to retire or run for another office instead of facing a tough reelection battle and potential minority party status in Congress.
Republican turned Democrat
Crist made the announcement in a campaign-style video in which he hearkened back to his prior accomplishments in the governor’s office and attacked DeSantis on a number of fronts.
Florida should be a place where hard work is rewarded, justice is equal, and opportunity is right in front of you. That’s a Florida for all — and that’s why I’m running for Governor.
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) May 4, 2021
This effort from Crist marks his second run for governor since he was first elected to that office 15 years ago as a Republican when he served one term from 2007-2011, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Crist left the GOP in 2010 and declared himself an independent, at which point he launched an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate against then-unknown Republican candidate Marco Rubio.
In 2012, Crist relabeled himself as a Democrat and launched an unsuccessful bid in 2014 to oust then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) from office. In 2016, he ran and finally won as a Democrat for a seat in Congress and was elected to his third term in November.
“What party is he going to run in this time?”
At an event on Thursday, DeSantis was asked for his reaction to the news that Crist would challenge him for the governorship in the next election, local NBC affiliate WFLA reported. The governor replied with mockery for his former predecessor and potential rival.
“You know, I didn’t realize, like, you know — like, what party is he going to run in this time?” DeSantis said. “I mean, he’s lost as a Republican, independent, Democrat.”
“But you know, I looked up, he’s voting with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time in Congress,” he added. “I thought heck, maybe he gives the Green Party a chance, he’s certainly voting that way. So we’ll see what happens.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis reacts to Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, who is a former Republican, announcing a run for Gov:
“What party is he going to run in this time? He’s lost as a Republican, Independent, a Democrat… Maybe he gives the Green Party a chance.”pic.twitter.com/QjyL3Oajy5
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 5, 2021