Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Now Has a Challenger
In the wake of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' signing into law a bill that significantly curtails the rights of Floridians to vote, and the so-called "anti-riot" law that caused a chasm amongst Floridians, Governor Ron DeSantis now has a new challenger to the proverbial throne. That man, Charlie Crist, is an old familiar face in Florida politics. Crist currently holds a house seat in Florida's 13th district, and he's been an outspoken proponent of investigations into Governor Ron DeSantis' alleged vaccine scandals.
One scandal alleged that the governor prioritized wealthy donors in affluent Republican neighborhoods. Governor DeSantis fired back that the vaccines prioritized Florida zip codes with an abundance of elderly residents who are at the highest risk for negative outcomes from COVID-19. The other scandal came in the way of allegations that DeSantis prioritized giving Publix vaccines in exchange for campaign contributions, an allegation that was thoroughly debunked by the DeSantis team, as DeSantis wasn't even in charge of which outlets would deliver the COVID-19 vaccines in Florida, a Democrat named Jared Moscowitz was.
Nonetheless, add all these things up, and combine a little pro-Trump swagger and play-it-loose COVID-19 policies, and DeSantis' tenure has soured him for many Democrats in the state, while many Republicans love Governor DeSantis and his performance thus far.
It will be the third campaign for Crist as he runs for the title of the Governor of Florida. His first run was as a Republican, in 2006, and he took office on January 2nd of 2007. This will be his second time running as a Democrat in the state.
His career spans all the way back to 1992 when he was elected to the Florida State Senate in the 20th district.
Crist's tenure is over thirty years and longtime Floridians have both positive and negative views of the man who will now become the challenger to DeSantis. This election, it appears, will be a question of values. Crist has taken a sharp left turn from his policies of old, positioning himself as a much more progressive Democrat (for Florida) than in years prior.
A long-time environmental activist who took on the sugar industry, over the past few years, Crist has also fought to defend Floridians' healthcare, social security, and the Florida environment, noting that he would make sure the looming threat of climate change was a top priority if he wins.
Crist said in an ad to announce his campaign:
"We protected 27,000 acres at the Everglades, saved the jobs of 20,000 teachers, cut property taxes for our seniors, lowered the cost of prescription drugs, expanded children’s health care with Kid Care, restored voting rights for 150,000 Floridians. And we pulled together to pull our state out of the Great Recession. Florida has a governor that’s only focused on his future, not yours. While COVID took the lives of 35,000 Floridians, DeSantis attacked doctors and scientists. ... DeSantis is stripping away your voting rights. He’s against the $15 minimum wage. He doesn’t believe in background checks for guns, doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose, doesn’t listen, he doesn’t care. And unless you can write him a campaign check, you don’t exist."
In a speech delivered to a crowd gathered in St. Petersburg, Florida, one that was also broadcast live on Facebook, Crist emphasized a focus on social justice and equality, noting that too many people of color had been left out...left out of the economy, with soaring rents and stagnant wages, left out of the quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (or property) by a system that treats different people from different classes and races differently.
He made a special point to note that people of color and poor communities have suffered from COVID-19 at greater rates under Governor Ron DeSantis and we can assume that this will be the spearhead of his campaign.