At the beginning of this month, when Charlie Crist entered the room, it was a conference hall located inside a teachers union building in the heart of Tampa, Florida. He exuded an air of calm confidence.
He may have to compete in a primary election to be the Democratic candidate in the next election for governor, but Crist appears to have his sights already set on the general election in November – and on the moderate Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, whom he intends to unseat.
Crist told the group of educators who were gathered there, “He’s the most arrogant governor I’ve ever seen in my life,” and they nodded their heads in accord. “It is unbelievable, to say the least. When will we ever learn?
Today, as primary voters in the state cast their ballots, polls predict that Crist, a Florida political fixture, would likely win by a significant margin against Nikki Fried, the state’s agricultural commissioner, who is his closest Democratic opponent.
The 66-year-old politician has held every conceivable political post in the state, ranging from Republican governor and attorney general to Democratic congressman, where he is currently serving.
In 2012, Crist made headlines when he famously switched parties to the Democratic one, blaming a radical takeover of the Republican party.
The current situation of his old political party continues to surprise him, even though he has moved to the centre of the political spectrum and was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Joe Biden for president in 2020.
“The leadership of the Republican Party as it exists today has been removed. He stated that there was no leadership present. “It’s like jumping from one culture war to another, attacking the LGBTQ community, assaulting African American voters, attacking women and the freedom to choose,” said one commentator.
One day before Crist’s interview with the Guardian, DeSantis suspended and effectively fired a Democratic prosecutor in the state for refusing to enforce Florida’s new abortion law, which prohibits the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The law was enacted in response to the prosecutor’s refusal to enforce the new law. The action was referred to as an extreme overreach of executive power, and Crist, who is known for having a calm demeanour and being careful with his word choice, compared DeSantis to a tyrant.
“I’m not the type of person to throw about aggressive language unless it’s backed up by facts. And in this particular instance, that is correct,” Crist stated. “It’s imperative that we comprehend what it is that this individual is doing. To achieve his goal of becoming President of the United States, he is currently running for office in the state of Florida.
“He’s a savage and aspiring autocrat,” said another.
It is widely assumed that DeSantis is contemplating a bid for the presidency in 2024, and he has raised over $160 million in campaign contributions since 2019.
In the meantime, his tenure has been responsible for ushering in a wave of extreme right-wing legislation in the state.
These laws range from those that severely restrict the discussion of gender and sexual identity in classrooms to those that outright ban the teaching of critical race theory and those that implement widespread voter suppression.
Both the election of Ron DeSantis as governor and Donald Trump’s victory in Florida’s presidential election in 2020, in which he increased his margin of victory from 2016, point to an increasing lurch to the right in Florida, which has traditionally been regarded as the most significant swing state in the United States.
Because a Democrat has not been able to win the presidential election in Florida since 2012, many political analysts believe the state is no longer a swing state.
A swing state is referred to as a “purple” state, and the term describes a state that can change from Republican to Democrat or vice versa.
Predictably, Crist argues the opposite, pointing to the election that saw DeSantis win the governor’s house in 2018 with a razor-thin margin of victory of 0.4 percentage points.
It doesn’t matter what the political climate is like in the state right now, whoever gets the nomination to run against Ron DeSantis in November will almost certainly be subjected to a vicious campaign.
Although it looks likely that Crist’s background as a veteran Florida political operative would win him the party’s nomination, Fried has exploited the fact that Crist has that position as a tool in his attacks against him.
In particular, Fried criticises the governor’s record on abortion, pointing to the governor’s nomination of three state supreme court judges who would rule on Florida’s new law as evidence of the governor’s lack of consistency.
Charles Canady, a once anti-abortion politician, was nominated to be the state’s top justice by Governor Crist, and the latter acknowledges that this is a move he will come to regret if the law is upheld.
When asked why a candidate who has already occupied the governor’s mansion as a Republican and who has been such a familiar face for such a long time could stand a chance of success against a rising star of the Republican party, Crist reverts to values as an explanation for his decision to run for office again.
- An Unprecedented Donation of $1.6 Billion Gives Conservatives a Boost
- Lloyd Doggett, a U.S. Representative, Comments on the Inflation Reduction Act
- Wednesday Addams Release Date: Is There a Specific Story Behind Wednesday?
“I believe that we need relief as well as a brighter future. I was brought up in the same manner that my parents did, and I’m offering that same respect to my state,” he remarked. “From what I’ve seen, the vast majority of Floridians are upstanding citizens.”