Florida Democrats on Tuesday nominated Rep. Charlie Crist to challenge GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis in November as Democrats hope to win the governorship for the first time in more than 20 years.
Crist, who represents Florida’s 13th congressional district, which includes St. Petersburg, secured his main victory with more than 60 percent of the vote, defeating Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who received 35 percent of the vote at the time of the Associated Press appeal race. He previously served as the state governor from 2007 to 2011, was elected a Republican, and became an independent in 2010.
The Florida gubernatorial race will be one of the most closely watched elections in November as DeSantis faced heavy backlash from Democrats over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, his support for the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law and his contamination confronted was Disney, whose theme park employs tens of thousands of people in the Orlando area.
Despite that controversy and Crist’s previous statewide tenure, according to recent polls, he still has an uphill battle to defeat DeSantis in November.
Florida has transitioned Republican in recent years — with former President Donald Trump winning the state in 2020 by a larger margin than in 2016 — and DeSantis remains fairly popular with Florida voters, according to polling firm Morning Consult.
The most recent independent in-race poll showed DeSantis leading Crist by 8 percentage points. The Republican governor received 50 percent of the votes from respondents in a University of North Florida poll conducted Aug. 8-12, while Crist received just 42 percent of the votes.
Other polls have similarly found DeSantis to have a lead over Crist. A Cherry Communications poll conducted Aug. 4-15 and sponsored by the Republican-leaning Florida Chamber of Commerce found DeSantis won 51 percent of the vote, compared to Crist’s 43 percent.
Meanwhile, a poll conducted July 26-31 by Clarity Campaign Labs and sponsored by progressive groups Florida Watch and Progress Florida found DeSantis also has a head start. The poll found that DeSantis supported 47 percent of those polled, while Crist earned just 44 percent.
The gubernatorial race could also have national ramifications, as DeSantis has become a national figure in the GOP and is considered the top candidate for president in the 2024 GOP primary if Trump declines to run. The gubernatorial race will serve as another test of his eligibility before 2024.
Policy experts say DeSantis is likely to return to the governor’s mansion after November’s midterms. The Cook Political Report, an organization that tracks elections in the United States, considers the race “probably Republican,” meaning it’s not considered competitive, but it could become.
https://www.newsweek.com/charlie-crist-chances-beating-ron-desantis-florida-governor-race-1736186 According to polls, Charlie Crist has a chance of beating Ron DeSantis