Charlie Crist fires up Broward Dems’ first indoor post-pandemic party
Charlie Crist vows his entire staff will get the jab.

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Ex-Governor offers a preview of attack lines against Gov. Ron DeSantis to fire up party faithful

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist got a warm welcome from Broward Democrats Sunday — with many on their feet to cheer his bid to become the first Democrat elected Florida Governor in nearly 30 years.

“We’re going to have fun doing this — winning is always fun,” he said to the crowd of about 250, who included both elected Democrats and foot soldiers who work the phone banks. “We’re due. We’re overdue.”

Lawton Chiles was the last Democrat to be Florida Governor, elected in 1994.

Crist served in the No. 1 state government job as a Republican from 2007 to 2011. He said he wants to return to the Governor’s Mansion because Florida deserves a Governor who wakes up in the morning thinking about Florida kids’ test scores and preserving the state’s environment.

Crist has to beat the state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the Primary Election next year. Still, Sunday’s 15-minute pep talk for unity offered a preview of his attack lines in the General Election against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. He addressed the mostly unmasked crowd at a Century Village clubhouse as they dined on barbecued chicken, ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs.

“I love Florida. I love her with all my heart — she’s special,” Crist said. “This current Governor is running for President. He’s treating Florida like she’s a stepping stone. Florida is special. She is not a stepping stone.”

He noted that as Florida became a COVID-19 hot spot in the last few days, the current Governor has been hard to find.

“You know what’s happening. We have gone to the top. And it is a dubious distinction. And why is that? Because we don’t have leadership,” Crist said.

“Where was he? In Texas,” Crist continued, alluding to DeSantis’ pledge of Florida law enforcement to help control the nation’s southern border, which has come under some criticism.

Emails from the Governor’s Office show no scheduled events Saturday or Sunday.

DeSantis is considered by many to be a likely alternative to run for President should former President Donald Trump not run for the job in 2024. DeSantis has quickly become a national politician with numerous prime-time appearances on cable news.

Crist also hammered DeSantis for how his administration handled the early phase of the vaccine rollout, during which the Governor was accused of favoring donors. DeSantis has fiercely rebutted those claims.

“Is that ethical? Is that fair? Is that Just. It is not. You deserve better,” Crist said.

Crist said the state is ready for a new Governor. And Broward County has more registered Democrats than any other county in the state.

“We’re going to have to have that unified energy to bring this home,” he said.

At what has long been considered a Democratic stronghold, Sunday’s event had candidates for Florida’s 20th Congressional District, such as Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief and state Rep. Omari Hardy, a West Palm Beach Democrat, working the crowd. State Reps. Christine Hunschofsky of Parkland, Patricia Williams of Pompano Beach, and Marie Woodson of Hollywood were also there.

Daphne Edwards of Lauderdale Lakes was ready to work the phones for Crist after he spoke.

“He was a damn good Governor even though he was Republican,” she said.

Cory Shearer, a vice-chair of the Broward Democratic Party, said this was the first time the group has met indoors since the COVID-19 outbreak called for masks and social distancing. There was an outdoor event on July Fourth, and the Party has been keeping in touch with online meetings, calls and emails. But that can’t quite match getting together face to face, he said.

“Some of us are Zoomed out,” he said, referring to the online meeting platform that has become popular since the pandemic began.

Bernie Parness, another official with county Democrats, offered a moment of introspection when he asked those in the crowd to consider why Democrats keep losing statewide elections. Too many times, supporters of one candidate fall away after one candidate doesn’t go on to the General Election.

“I want you to make a pledge,” Parness said. “Whoever wins the Primary (Election) has my 150% support.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


12 comments

  • Arthro

    July 26, 2021 at 7:39 am

    Get real. Charlie Crist is a joke. He’s not even a real Democrat. He’s an opportunist whose primary goal is just getting elected. Is this really the best candidate the Democrats have?

  • Tom

    July 26, 2021 at 8:18 am

    Charlie firing everyone up for 45% state wide vs America’s Governor.

  • zhombre

    July 26, 2021 at 9:07 am

    Florida Dems retain a special kind of arrogant delusion if they think Charlie Crist, refurbished and spray- tanned once again, who lost previously to Rick Scott in the gov’s race, can beat Ron DeSantis. Of course, Dems were absolutely certain that Andrew Gillum, Alex Sink and Bill McBride were winners.

  • Tom

    July 26, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Yes, big doings for a 45% state wide vote total for Nov of 22. Yeah Charlie.
    So Charlie tell us what you would be doing.
    Lockdowns? businesses closed? Schools closed? Florida society decimated.
    You and Nikki Fraud, have no clue.
    America’s Governor continues to lead on every issue.

    • Ocean Joe

      July 26, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      Including the surge.

  • Tom

    July 26, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    Seaweed joe, you have nothing to offer like crisp & fraud.
    Lockdowns? No school, no employment, despair, inflation? High gas prices? More illegals, You Dem liberals love to scream.
    Governor Ron is doing a wonderful job for Florida. The peeps know and appreciate him.

  • martin

    July 26, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    another career swamp rat out of the shadows.

  • Zhombre

    July 26, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Joe’s ocean is actually a pond inhabited by Muscovy ducks convinced they are ospreys.

  • Matthew Lusk

    July 27, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    Charlie Crist. What a sleazeball.

  • Ron Ogden

    July 28, 2021 at 6:29 am

    “Ex-Governor offers a preview of attack lines against Gov. Ron DeSantis to fire up party faithful”

    Facile “attack lines” and subterranean fundraising: what “our democracy” has become in an era when pr is more important than policy. Charlie’s World.

  • JoAnne

    July 28, 2021 at 11:30 am

    Good luck Crist. It’s not going to happen. Maybe the transplants aren’t familiar with you but the rest of us are.

  • Kenneth Southwell

    July 31, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    250 people showed up for free food lol

Comments are closed.


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