U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist hasn’t formally announced his running mate against Gov. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, but the GOP is already drilling into his presumptive pick.
The announcement is slated for Saturday.
As a thrice-elected union leader, Hernandez-Mats often runs contrary to DeSantis and Republicans’ education agenda, which is taking center stage this election cycle.
“Charlie Crist’s choice for his running mate is another slap in the face to Florida parents,” the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) said in a statement. “It confirms how out of touch Crist is with Florida families by picking an extremist like Karla Mats that supported school closures, forced masking and, if given the opportunity, would allow the indoctrination of Florida students.”
It’s a pivotal time for education, with most conservatives and progressives split on where the power should rest when it comes to school safety, education on sexual orientation and gender identity and how race and privilege should be taught.
DeSantis’ influence on that front is undeniable. Most of the GOP-aligned School Board candidates he endorsed either won their seats outright Aug. 23 or are headed to runoffs. Democrats are looking to stop the bleeding, and Hernandez-Mats’ voice rings loud among UTD’s 30,000 members and the 1.7 million members of its parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers, of which she is vice president.
“Mats must be puzzled that Charlie chose her given that she, as president of the Miami-Dade teachers union, delivered a big defeat to Democrats right in her own backyard of Miami-Dade County, where candidates endorsed by Governor DeSantis flipped the school board to prioritize students and parents,” the RPOF continued.
“Floridians, especially parents, will give Charlie and his activist running mate a well-deserved boot out the door come November.”