Sean Shaw, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Attorney General, is throwing his support behind Charlie Crist for Governor.
“Gov. Crist is someone we need to lead Florida forward and restore civility and decency back in the Governor’s mansion,” Shaw said.
The former state Representative served as Florida’s consumer insurance advocate when Crist was a Republican Governor; Crist won election in 2006 and served a single term before seeking higher office, and now serves in Congress.
Shaw said he was impressed by Crist’s wiliness as Governor to stand up to the Republican-controlled Legislature and ensure diversity in Florida’s courts. He recalled attending the appointment of James E.C. Perry, the last Black Justice on the Florida Supreme Court and a Crist pick.
“I remember your words that day as you described what sort of person you wanted to appoint to the Florida Supreme Court — someone who took justice seriously, someone who reflected the diversity of this state, someone that you could be proud of as Governor for appointing,” Shaw said.
Crist notably picked Perry over District Court of Appeal Judge Alan Lawson, a favorite of conservatives and law enforcement.
“You took a lot of heat from your party at the time for appointing him to the bench,” Shaw recalled. “You took a lot of incoming for appointing someone who was not an ultraconservative member of the Federalist Society.”
The choice holds significance to Shaw, whose father Leander Shaw served as Florida’s first Black Chief Justice on the state’s high court.
At a joint press conference with Shaw, Crist took several shots at Gov. Ron DeSantis for effectively allowing a conservative legal group to screen and choose nominees.
“The Judicial Nominating Commission have become a partisan rubber stamp for these candidates endorsed by the Federalist Society,” Crist said.
He pointed out that DeSantis’ only Black nominee to the state Supreme Court, Renatha Francis, ended up disqualified because she lacked the 10 years of required experience on the bench to serve on the Supreme Court.
“Even when Gov. DeSantis tried to appoint a Black justice he broke the rules,” Crist said. “He chose a member of the Federalist Society who did not meet the minimum qualifications.”
Now the court has no Black justices.
Crist praised Shaw for working to put three constitutional amendments on the 2024 Florida ballot, all focused on voter registration. One would automatically register voters when they deal with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, another would allow Election Day and early voting day-of registration, and a third would automatically make voters eligible to vote when they serve all sentence time for most felonies.
Shaw also praised Crist’s record of standing up to insurance companies on behalf of consumers during his time as Governor.
“After eight hurricanes hit Florida in just two years, Charlie stood up to insurance companies and reduced skyrocketing property insurance rates,” Shaw said. “He restored the voting rights of over 155,000 returning citizens and extended voting hours across the state so folks could get to the polls during the 2008 presidential election.”
Shaw’s endorsement could play a significant role in the Democratic Primary for Governor, where Crist faces Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. The winner of that contest faces DeSantis, who is expected to seek a second term.
While DeSantis technically hasn’t filed for reelection, a political committee supporting his ambitions has raised nearly $5 million in August — more than the committees supporting Crist or Fried have brought in all year.