MIAMI — Consultant Charlie Crist, Democrat of Florida, entered the race for governor on Tuesday, changing into the primary challenger to Ron DeSantis, a Republican who raised his profile during the pandemic and is now one of many best-known governors within the nation and a number one contender for his get together’s presidential nomination in 2024.
“In the present day, Florida has a governor that’s solely targeted on his future, not yours,” Mr. Crist mentioned in a video posted on Twitter, forward of a deliberate announcement later within the morning in his hometown, St. Petersburg.
Mr. Crist has an extended political historical past in Florida and is extensively recognized all through the state. He served as governor as a Republican from 2007 to 2011 earlier than operating unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate as an unbiased, shedding to Marco Rubio. After switching events, he later misplaced a Democratic bid for governor in 2014 towards the incumbent, Rick Scott.
However Mr. Crist’s expertise is unlikely to discourage different Democratic candidates. His clout has been diminished by years of electoral failures and by a celebration that’s more and more open to a wider vary of extra various public figures to be its normal bearers. Two girls, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Consultant Val Demings of Orlando, are contemplating their very own Democratic runs for the governor’s mansion.
Certainly, the sector might quickly get fairly crowded. Ms. Fried scheduled a information convention within the State Capitol for a similar time as Mr. Crist’s announcement. Ms. Demings released a video of her own on Tuesday that, whereas not declaring a candidacy, highlighted her profession as Orlando police chief, impeachment supervisor in Congress and a shortlisted vice-presidential pick for President Biden.
Comparable jockeying — although not fairly as intense — is underway amongst Democrats seeking to go up towards Mr. Rubio, who additionally faces re-election subsequent 12 months.
Upfront of Mr. Crist’s announcement, Mr. DeSantis held an official occasion on Monday at Mr. Crist’s favourite seafood restaurant in St. Petersburg, touting the wins he racked up in the course of the annual legislative session that concluded final week — a session that he and Republicans answerable for the Legislature used to champion insurance policies that may attraction to Florida’s more and more conservative voters.
Republican lawmakers authorised restrictions on mail voting, penalties on social media corporations that take away customers for troubling posts, anti-protest policies, a ban on transgender athletes in women’ and ladies’s sports activities, and a ban on “vaccine passports” — all fodder for Mr. DeSantis to deploy in a re-election marketing campaign.
On Monday, Mr. DeSantis signed a invoice and an govt order putting off most of Florida’s remaining native pandemic restrictions, contrasting his administration’s aversion for mandates to the restrictions in states led by Democrats.