Republicans mock Charlie Crist entry to Governor race, herald open House seat

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Attacks started before the Democrat even held his launch event.

As Charlie Crist launched his second run for Governor as a Democrat, his former political party openly mocked his values.

Crist on Tuesday announced he will challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. That comes after he was elected to three terms in Congress as a Democrat, one term as Governor as a Republican, and failed statewide bids for Governor as a Democrat and Senate as an independent.

The Republican Governors Association, of which Crist was once a prominent member, labeled Crist’s ambitions as “pathetic.”

“The only thing about Charlie Crist that hasn’t changed since his last two runs for statewide office is that Florida still can’t trust Charlie,” said RGA spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez. “Floridians have rejected Crist as a statewide candidate twice already, and whether it’s in the Democratic primary or the General they’ll do the same again this time.”

An RGA email mocked Crist’s “wine nights at D.C. steakhouses and screwdrivers on the commute to his day job” since winning a seat in Congress in 2016. The organization then lists progressive positions held by the former Republican Governor such as wanting to abolish the Electoral College.

Rodriguez also notes Crist has said he thanks God that Joe Biden is now President, but will run in a state former President Donald Trump won by three percentage points.

At the National Republican Campaign Committee, news of Crist’s run for Governor was primarily trumpeted as a chance to flip a blue seat in Florida red again. Crist’s seat was recently rated as evenly divided by Cook Political Report, and that’s before redistricting led by the Republican Legislature.

The NRCC formally moved Florida’s 13th Congressional District to its Exit List.

“Charlie Crist can see the writing on the wall: The Democrats’ socialist agenda that includes eliminating private health insurance, trillion-dollar tax hikes, defunding the police and opening our borders will send his party back to the minority in 2022,” said NRCC spokeswoman Camille Gallo.

KellyAnne Conway, former adviser to Trump and a longtime GOP pollster, labeled Crist’s campaign “a fool’s errand.” Also out of Trump world, Kimberly Guilfoyle, commentator and daughter-in-law to the former President, noted “Charlie Crist has lost statewide general elections in Florida running as a Republican, Democrat, AND Independent. He may be an overachiever in that regard… but definitely not a winner.”

DeSantis also chimed in, jabbing at Crist’s party switch a decade ago.

“I just wonder which party is he going to run under? Do we know for sure? I thought about it, because you know, he’s run as a Republican and lost, independent and lost, Democrat and lost,” DeSantis said Tuesday. “Now I see he’s voting with (U.S. House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi 100 percent of the time. He could probably give it a run for the Green Party in San Francisco. So, who knows what is going to happen with that?”


The News Service of Florida contributed to this post. Republished with permission.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]

One comment

  • Ron Ogden

    May 4, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    I read somewhere that the only thing that is still the same about Charlie is that he “still loves Florida.” Nonsense. Charlie only loves Charlie, and Charlie is all about trying to get another political job somewhere, somehow. He may be a strong campaigner, but someone tell me, what has Charlie actually done–except pump taxpayer money into Poynter/Times?

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