Charlie Crist easily dispatched Nikki Fried in the Democratic primary Tuesday taking about 60% of the vote to her 35%.
Now he’s ready to take on Gov. Ron DeSantis. But it’s going to be an uphill battle. DeSantis has already amassed a war chest of over $140 million – a historic fundraising total.
“Our fundamental freedoms are literally on the ballot [...] a woman's right to choose, democracy on the ballot, rights of minorities, that’s what is at stake in this election,” he said during his victory speech.
Crist served as Florida’s governor from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican. He ran for senate, losing against now Sen. Marco Rubio in the Republican primary and later in the general election as an Independent. He later switched to the Democrat Party and ran against now Sen. Rick Scott, losing to him as well.
“I'm sad to say, I don't want to recognize the leaders of the Republican Party. They're extremists. They want to turn back the clock on our freedom. They're trying to undermine our democracy in ways no one could have ever imagined,” Crist said. “That stops here. That stops now. And it stops with our Florida. I proudly served as your governor once before and unlike the current governor I represented every Floridian regardless of what political party they belong to, or how much money was in their wallet, or even who they loved, we made it easier to vote.”
Most political analysts believe DeSantis is setting the stage for a presidential run in 2024. DeSantis has used the last two years engaging in culture wars in the state especially targeting the LGBT community like banning student trans athletes; passing a law dubbed “Don’t Say Gay”; and recently targeting a Miami restaurant for its racy drag shows.
“DeSantis only cares about the White House. He doesn't care about your house,” Crist noted.
Crist also called DeSantis a bully, who imitates authoritarian leaders.
“He's abusive. He is a bully. And he's dangerous to us. Dangerous,” Crist said. “He wants to appeal to the extremists across the nation as he seeks the Republican nomination for governor in 2024. He won't condemn hate or extremism. Like the Nazis running around our state waving his flags and spreading anti-semitic hate. Are you kidding me? And he stays silent when his own lieutenant governor calls for Cuban migrants to be bused out of our Florida. Unbelievable.”
Crist vowed to defeat DeSantis.
“Don't be fooled by the DeSantis propaganda machine. He doesn't promote freedom – he takes freedom away. We can put a stop to this wanna be dictator,” Crist said. “This is the most consequential race in the history of our state. And when we win in November, we will send shockwaves across this country.”