U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist announced Thursday he has added three new staff members to his gubernatorial campaign.
Joining his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination are Pamela Burch Fort as senior adviser, Gayle Andrews as senior adviser for constituency media and Samantha Ramirez as press secretary.
“I am thrilled to welcome these new members of our team in our fight to build a Florida for all. Pamela, Gayle, and Samantha bring with them diverse backgrounds and experiences that will help pave a successful path forward and ensure the voices of people from communities across Florida are reflected from day one,” Crist said in a news release.
Burch Fort is President of The Commerce Group, a government affairs and political consulting practice. She also worked as a staffer in the state Senate for 16 years, serving as a legislative analyst and as staff director to the Committee on Commerce and the Committee on Banking and Insurance. She has managed and consulted with scores of Florida candidates and campaigns over several decades.
Andrews is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications consultant. She has designed and placed media for every campaign for Florida Governor and President from 1989 to 2020 and has worked for former U.S. Sens. Bob Graham and Bill Nelson. She was a member of the Capitol Press Corps for 14 years, and for 11 years she was the sole person of color covering state politics. Gayle attended Bacone (Indian) College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and completed her studies at Florida A&M University. Andrews is a member of a federally recognized Native American tribe and is also a fifth-generation Floridian of African American descent.
Ramirez comes to the campaign from Crist’s congressional office, where she has worked since 2018, most recently as press secretary in his Washington office. Born in Venezuela, Ramirez is a former Dreamer and DACA recipient who was raised in South Florida and attended the University of Florida where she received dual degrees in political science and business administration.
Crist, a former Florida Governor, is one of two major Democrats running for Governor. He faces Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the Primary, and most polls show him leading by a large margin. The most recent, conducted by Political Matrix/Listener Group, showed him leading 41%-31% with 29% of voters undecided.
The winner of the Democratic Primary will go up against incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is currently considered the favorite more than a year out from Election Day. A poll published this week shows DeSantis leading Crist 55%-45% and Fried 61%-39%.