One year in, Charlie Crist stresses high stakes for abortion in race to unseat Ron DeSantis
Charlie Crist. Image via AP.

Crist will call DeSantis 'the worst Governor in Florida’s modern era.'

The stakes in Florida’s gubernatorial election have only risen in the last 365 days, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist will argue on the one-year anniversary of his gubernatorial campaign.

In his prepared remarks, to be delivered Wednesday during an 11 a.m. event in Tampa, the St. Petersburg Democrat will stress the need to defeat Gov. Ron DeSantis in light of a leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court decision that would eliminate women’s right to abortions.

Crist’s speech will put plainly his stance on abortion, which has confounded political observers for decades, even as recently as last month.

“Next year, as your Governor, I’ll veto any anti-choice legislation that comes to my desk,” read Crist’s prepared remarks.

The overnight shift in the national conversation to abortion occurred after POLITICO published the leaked draft Monday evening. In Florida, Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday said they feared the Republican-controlled Legislature, which passed a 15-week abortion ban in March, could soon move to outlaw abortion outright.

“If the Court follows through on this decision, the last line of defense will be America’s Governors,” Crist’s remarks read.

As abortion emerges as a campaign issue for the midterms, the Democratic front-runner’s comments will help refocus his message on the issue.

During a sit-down with WPTV’s Shannon Cake last month, Crist called himself in favor of abortion rights but still “pro-life.” And he called the generally accepted definitions of “pro-life” and “pro-choice” “somebody else’s definition.”

“I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I always have,” Crist said. “I am still pro-life, meaning I am for life. I hope most people are, and I think it’s important to understand the distinction.”

Before Crist can face DeSantis in November, he must secure his party’s nomination over two Democratic colleagues, both women. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo have entered the race since Crist launched his campaign. Both have also issued statements lamenting the possible Court ruling.

However, Crist holds the distinction of being the only gubernatorial candidate to have vetoed a bill restricting abortions.

When Crist was Governor, elected in 2006 as a Republican, he vetoed legislation that would have required women to pay for an ultrasound before opting to have an abortion.

“We all know what Gov. DeSantis would do. He’s already shown us,” according to Crist’s remarks. “And he wants to appoint another far-right Florida Supreme Court Justice this summer, who could overturn Florida’s privacy clause in the state constitution that’s the last remaining defense if and when Roe v. Wade falls.”

On Tuesday, DeSantis reaffirmed his “pro-life” stance and decried leaking the draft Court decision as an unprecedented “judicial insurrection.”

“They need to figure out who did that and they need to hold them accountable because that’s a real significant breach of trust,” DeSantis said. “You want to talk about an insurrection, that’s a judicial insurrection, to be taking that out and trying to kneecap a potential majority through extra-constitutional means.”

Crist’s anniversary speech will also hit the incumbent Governor on the rising cost of living and accuse him of forgetting Florida and repeatedly violating the state and U.S. constitutions. Crist will say DeSantis preaches hate as he wages a culture war.

“This Governor is a bully. He imitates the worst of authoritarian leaders aligned against the United States. And he’s doing it for one reason — his ambition to capture the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2024,” reads the speech.

“Gov. DeSantis is the worst Governor in Florida’s modern era. It’s not a close call.”

The latest polling still shows Crist leading his Primary opponents in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Meanwhile, he’s racked up a growing list of endorsements, including recent support from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and state Sen. Shevrin Jones.

However, the latest polling have shown DeSantis with a double-digit lead over Crist, Fried and Taddeo — a far cry from 2018, when DeSantis defeated Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum by less than half a percentage point.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Tom

    May 4, 2022 at 6:38 am

    Crist is a Camillion, how many calling of names can you insert in a article. Camillion says he’s for abortion, but he’s for life. My God, who is he John Kerrey.

    DeSantis is the best Governor in the country.
    Florida has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, 3.2% jobs employment.
    $20 billion in financial reserves. 8.7 wage growth. Best public school voucher system in the country, and expanded for poor and minorities.

    Camillion is an embarrassment.

    • Diane H

      May 4, 2022 at 7:31 pm

      What’s a camillion? You must have gotten your limited education in Florida.

  • Diane H

    May 4, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    I hope women will turn out in force to vote the Republicans out of office.

    • Harry kamalatoe

      May 5, 2022 at 2:49 pm

      Vote out the most pro choice Governor in America?

    • Tom

      May 9, 2022 at 9:14 pm

      Diane H, Apparently you are ignorant enough to not be able to google a definition. “Chameleon” definition is one like Charlie crispy Critters. A person who changes his positions for political expediency. Crispy is a sleaze bag you foul. Don’t you understand anything you moron. He is a sell out, flip flopper fish on a pier. He does somersaults for expediency.

      How stupid are you? He’s a party switcher. He has no core, just hate.
      Biden’s approval in Florida is 37% at best in Florida. He is a 100 pd weight on the Florida Dums. Get out of here
      Loser! DeSantis wins easily. 53% vs Crusiy, 53.5% vs nikki fraud.

  • Richard Eginton

    May 5, 2022 at 3:39 am

    Mr. Crist’s statement that I am for life.” is meaningless. As meaningless as the protestations of one Oskar Groening during WWII. The comparison is not meant to compare the two men but to demonstrate the mindset that allows Crist to feel he can claim moral high ground while having a foot on both sides of the abortion issue.

    Oskar watched as a child to weak to respond to a soldiers order was grabbed and swung by the leg against the side of a truck killing him. It was his first day at his new post so he went and complained about the incident to the commanding officer. The officer agreed and posted Groening to his new position as property and currency management.

    Oskar was not opposed to the death of the child, only the manner in which it had been achieved. He had gone on record as being opposed to such treatment. He had demonstrated his humanity and decency. He worked for the rest of the war handling the property of the Jews who arrived by train at Auschwitz.

    I am not comparing Crist to Groening as people. But there is a similarity in the method they use to absolve themselves of any moral responsibility for the carnage that goes on. Oskar makes a choice to view the Jews as the enemy devoid of humanity and worthy of death.

    Charlie Crist supports giving women the “choice.” The choice to terminate the human life in her womb. Sorry Charlie, there is no distinction. Either way results in dead human beings.

    • Harry kamalatoe

      May 5, 2022 at 2:54 pm

      I always love the argument of “a woman’s right to choose” even though the baby girl that the woman decided to abort didn’t get a choice in the conversation.

      It is also insane to me that over 30 million Black Americans never got the choice to live as a direct result of “women’s right to choose” but somehow the people who want babies to be born are unanimously considered to be racists by those who support the policy which has lead to the death of over 30 million Black Americans.

      • Tom Taft

        May 6, 2022 at 12:39 pm

        Every night 723,000 Florida children go to bed hungry. This statistic come from the highly reputable organization, Feeding America. If Republicans want to be pro-life, they should start by supporting the children who do exist, who need an excellent education , who need social services, who need childcare. People who are pro-choice and pro-life are the ones who want women to have the right to choose and who want our society to support the lives of our children.

Comments are closed.


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