- Charlie Crist captures the Democratic nomination for Florida governor
- The former Republican Florida governor staves off Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried
- Crist will now try to unseat Gov. DeSantis in November
Instead of choosing “Something New,” Florida Democrats cast their ballots for something familiar, picking U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist over Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to be the nominee to face Governor Ron DeSantis in November.
Crist, a 66-year-old congressman and former Republican Florida governor, easily dispatched Fried, 44, in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. At the time of this article, Crist boasts over 60 percent of the vote. Fried has less than 35 percent of the vote.
Despite being the lone statewide elected Democrat and portraying herself as a progressive candidate who would champion women’s rights and usher in a new era as Florida’s first female governor, Fried was unable to overcome Crist. Crist raised over $14 million during the election cycle — twice as much as Fried — and garnered the backing of key players and establishment Democrats. Most polls also had Crist leading Fried.
Crist, of course, is a mainstay in Florida’s political arena. He served in the state Senate from 1993 to 1999, before running unsuccessfully against incumbent Bob Graham for the U.S. Senate in 1998. Crist would then transition inside the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), serving as education commissioner from 2001 to 2003.
Crist rose to statewide prominence in 2003, serving as Florida’s attorney general before winning the governor’s mansion as a Republican in 2006. He decided not to seek a second term, instead running in 2010 for a U.S. Senate seat, which he lost to Senator Marco Rubio.
After leaving the GOP, Crist tried to mount a comeback as a Democrat in 2014, losing the governor’s race to former Governor turned U.S. Senator Rick Scott.
Crist was elected to Congress from his home district in 2016.
With the win, Crist now faces the tall task of dispatching DeSantis, a beacon for today’s GOP and a potential candidate for president in 2024. The red-hot “Top-Gov” boasts more than $130 million in his campaign coffers and continues to be a threat to Democrats both in Florida and Washington, D.C.