American Federation of Teachers gives Charlie Crist a $500K boost
Charlie Crist.

‘It’s the biggest single donation Crist has received this election cycle.’

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s bid to retake the Governor’s Mansion this year is getting a big funding infusion from the American Federation of Teachers.

AFT, which boasts more than 1.7 million members across 3,000 local affiliates nationwide, is donating $500,000 to help him win the upcoming Democratic Primary and then defeat Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.

That’s the biggest check Crist’s campaign accepted this election cycle, according to his fundraising filings with the Division of Elections. It follows $50,000 worth of contributions since June from the Florida Education Association, which has endorsed Crist along with United Teachers of Dade, Democratic Public Education Caucus of Florida and other such unions throughout the state.

Crist, a former state Senator who served as Florida’s 21st Education Commissioner and 35th Attorney General before assuming the governorship in 2007, said he is “incredibly grateful” for the continued support he’s received from education professionals.

“It’s deeply meaningful that our campaign’s single largest donation comes from the teachers who are working so hard to give our kids a bright future,” he said in a statement announcing the donation Wednesday.

Last month, Crist unveiled his “Freedom to Learn” policy plan meant to strengthen Florida’s public education system. The plan prioritizes shoring up Florida’s shortage of teachers and educational support staff by raising wages and benefits, addressing the reduction in reading scores attributed to the pandemic, expanding voluntary pre-K, improving school safety and ending the “unwarranted politicization of our classrooms,” among other goals.

He also endorsed three incumbent School Board members and several candidates in Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Marion, Pinellas and Polk counties.

“Under Ron DeSantis, Florida’s schools, teachers, staff, parents, and children are suffering,” Crist said.

“With the first day of school less than two weeks away, 9,000 positions remain unfilled. Instead of addressing this crisis, including paying our teachers better, this Governor is waging culture wars on our schools. When I am Governor, we’ll take the politics out of our classrooms and make sure our kids have the freedom to learn.”

On June 22, DeSantis signed the Freedom First Budget, which included $800 million for teacher pay increases — a larger sum than he originally called for in November — and the largest year-over-year increase in per-student spending in a decade.

Including the new round of funding the Governor signed in March, teachers in Florida have received $2 billion in salary increases in the last three years.

Crist faces three Primary opponents this year, including Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. In terms of fundraising, endorsements and polling, Crist remains the front-runner in the race.

The Primary Election is Aug. 23, followed by the General Election Nov. 8.

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.


  • PeterH

    August 10, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    It’s unfortunate that both Arizona and Florida’s Governors have decided that their ‘cultural wars’ of hate and division are more important to their ever dwindling base than the education of their States children.

    DeSantis and Arizona’s Governor have recruited uneducated untrained college dropouts with two years of college to fill school vacancies. Florida is currently short 9,500+ qualified teachers….

    “A leaking boat sinks into the ocean at high tide!”


  • Toast Master

    August 10, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    They are certainly serving their members well by flushing that half a million dollars down the toilet.

    Congratulation AFT members! Your leadership are exercising sound stewardship of your resources! I sure hope they don’t move to Florida after they finish bankrupting Illinois.

  • Anglia

    August 10, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    are you tired with your job good opportunity Online Working ~3 Home Base Jobs for you here Copy This Site………

  • Susan Huff

    August 10, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    I am retired now, but in 2010’s I walked into the FEA office in Tallahassee and revoked my membership. I told I was not giving them another dime of my hard-earned money for stuff like this. My dues money should not be given to ANY politician. The unions and politicians make bad bedfellows.

  • A real bounder

    August 10, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    If anyone wants to claim Democrats are not duty-bound to represent bureaucrats, just attend to the above.

  • Mike

    August 11, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    Let’s all pray he wins and stops this hijacking of our democracy in Florida .. I want to be governed , not ruled

    • That's the sound of the men. . .

      August 11, 2022 at 3:12 pm

      Ruled? Charlie called for chaining state prisoners together by their legs while they were wearing black and white striped clothes and working on ditches in the summer sun. Your hero!

Comments are closed.


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