Charlie Crist campaign announces four diverse hires in bid to retake Governor’s Mansion
Charlie Crist makes decent bank. Again.

Crist said Floridians across the state are 'sick of the culture wars and demanding change.'

Four new hires diverse in background and experience have joined U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s campaign to retake the Governor’s Mansion in November.

Topping the list is Deputy Political Director Jordan Pride, president of the Hillsborough County Democratic Black Caucus and a principal consultant for political media firm Parsons-Wilson.

Pride boasts more than half a decade of experience in community engagement, organizing and political strategy. Her past roles include work as a community engagement specialist for the Florida Democratic Party in the Saint Petersburg-Tampa area and as a field specialist for former St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman’s successful 2017 re-election campaign.

Other new hires include Cait Gibbons as digital fundraising director, Carolina Zamora as online engagement director, and Grace Wright as deputy press secretary.

“As momentum continues to build and our team grows,” Crist said. “I am humbled to receive the support of Floridians across the state who are sick of the culture wars and demanding change.”

According to her LinkedIn page, Gibbons’ first job in politics was an internship under Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers in 2019.  Before joining Crist’s campaign in January, she was an email manager for the campaign of former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Zamora, a Bradenton resident, previously worked as a digital Spanish strategist for President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, according to her Twitter page.

In July, she was among those protesting a proposal to severely limit medical abortions in Manatee County.

Little information is readily available on Wright.

The Crist campaign political arm is led by Phillip Jerez, a Democratic operative with nearly a decade of experience who joined Crist’s campaign in June.

Jerez’s past roles include a three-year stint in the office of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and eight months as deputy political director for former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s 2018 gubernatorial bid.

Since then, he led Progressives for Florida as the organization’s president and chief strategist, served as campaign manager for the Coalition for Black and Brown Ballot Access and was a senior adviser in the successful campaign of New York City Council member Shaun Abreu.

The new hires will join Senior Labor Adviser Carlos Carillo, Senior Adviser Pamela Fort, Senior Adviser for Constituency Media Gayle Andrews, Senior Adviser on Outreach Lou Grossman and Senior Adviser for Hispanic Outreach and Media Lourdes Diaz.

Carillo, a former labor and veterans vote director for Biden’s presidential campaign, boasts more than three decades of experience in labor organizing and politics, including work on former President Barack Obama’s 2008 run.

He joined Crist’s campaign in November.

Fort is president of The Commerce Group, a government affairs and political consulting practice. She previously worked as a staffer for 16 years in the Senate, where she served as a legislative analyst and staff director for the Committee on Commerce and Committee on Banking and Insurance.

Andrews is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications consultant who has designed and placed media for every campaign for Florida Governor and President since 1989. She was a member of the Capitol press corps for 14 years. For most of that time, she was the sole person of color covering state politics.

Fort and Andrews joined Crist’s campaign in July.

Grossman, who joined Crist’s campaign in September, is the founder and president of the Sarasota County Seniors Democratic Caucus and a board member of the State Seniors Caucus, State Seniors Organizing Council, Sarasota Democratic Executive Committee and the Black, Stonewall and Jewish Caucuses.

Long active in politics, he more recently was elected as a Biden delegate to the 2020 Democratic National Convention before joining Biden’s campaign full time.

Diaz is a veteran media strategist in Hispanic markets, having previously worked on successful presidential campaigns for Obama and Biden. She joined Crist’s campaign in September.

Recent polling shows Crist enjoying a commanding lead over his main Democratic Primary opponents, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo. According to the findings of GBAO Strategies, voters favored the former Governor by 54%, Fried by 28% and Taddeo by 7%, while 11% of respondents were undecided.

The poll showed Crist leading in virtually every subset, including among White, Black and Hispanic voters, and in all regions of the state.

Another survey by St. Pete Polls in May found Crist leading Fried 55% to 22%.

In August, a Public Policy Polling Survey had Fried holding a slight lead, 33% to 31%, over Crist.

Taddeo announced her campaign for Governor Oct. 18.

Crist’s campaign was party to the creation of three grassroots coalitions: Women for Crist, Parents for Crist, and Seniors for Crist.

Those groups, which will “serve an important organizing and fundraising role,” the campaign said, make Crist “the first and only candidate in the race to create coalitions targeting this specific demographic of voters.”

“Our Women, Parents, and Seniors for Crist groups only further solidify our campaign’s commitment to build a Florida for all and deliver leadership where Gov. (Ron) DeSantis has failed,” Crist said in a statement. “These coalitions will play a key role in helping to share our vision for the future and finally turn the tide blue this November.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • zhombre

    February 10, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    Window dressing. Crist is simply an opportunist w/o principle.

  • Ron Ogden

    February 10, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    Crist would hire the Abominable Snowman if someone told him it would appeal to Yankee transplants.

  • Tom

    February 11, 2022 at 4:20 am

    Sounds like a lot of nothing, which makes it valuable for F P. Another press release article on behalf of Crist. Classic.

  • Jimmy Cee

    February 12, 2022 at 3:24 am

    Charlie Crist is the least principled politician
    I’ve ever known. Just think about that.

Comments are closed.


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