Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will make a “major announcement” Tuesday morning in St. Petersburg, according to PR consultant Kevin Cate. Speculation is he will announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Congress in Florida’s 13th District, which encompasses much of Pinellas County.
Details were sparse in the Friday news release sent by Cate, who worked on Crist’s 2014 unsuccessful run for governor. He said, though, that more information will come forward Monday.
The 13th District seat is occupied by Republican David Jolly, who is running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate next year, leaving the seat open. One factor in his decision to leave the seat won in 2014 in a special election after longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young died is the expected radical change in the district’s demographics. The Florida Supreme Court’s recent ruling on redistricting is expected move the district from narrowly favoring Republicans to being very pro-Democratic.
Crist will have competition for the nomination.
Former Department of Defense official and St. Pete native Eric Lynn has been running for the office since April, before Jolly’s pullout for his Senate ambitions. Lynn has raised more than $550,000 since declaring his candidacy.
Crist had not indicated any interest in running for Congress until the Florida Supreme Court ruled in July that eight of the state’s 27 congressional districts had been drawn up in violation of the state’s constitution.
A new proposed congressional map that still faces high court approval would no longer allow Kathy Castor’s CD 14 seat to cross Tampa Bay into south St. Petersburg, where a trove of Democratic-leaning voters reside. The inclusion of that new area into CD 13 will give the district a much more Democratic inclination.
So far, no Republican has announced their candidacy for the seat.