ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Let the campaigning begin! U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist won the Democratic nomination for governor in Florida on Tuesday, putting him in a position to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis this fall. He's hitting the ground running one day after the Florida Primaries by holding his first campaign event in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Crist began by telling the crowd that as governor, he will be pro-democracy, pro-women and pro-African American — which he says DeSantis is not.
"Floridians know they can trust me. I won't let you down," Crist said.
Crist spoke about DeSantis' political ads touting how he kept Florida open while the COVID-19 pandemic was still ongoing.
"He kept it open and we lost 80,000 Floridians lives. They're dead. Shame on him," Crist said. "That's his record. That's horrible. You can't pump that up with money. Money is the root of all evil and he's close to that."
The 66-year-old has already served one term as governor, running as a Republican at the time before gravitating toward Democrats. Crist defeated Nikki Fried, the state agriculture commissioner. She staked out a more progressive campaign and was particularly vocal in defending abortion and LGBTQ rights. The 44-year-old hoped to compete to become Florida's first female governor, but Crist beat her, 60 to 35-percent.
Meanwhile, DeSantis is expected to be making a stop in Central Florida. DeSantis will speak alongside other Republican candidates for the second day of his "Florida Free" tour in Geneva at 3 p.m. It's one of several planned stops around the state.
Following Crist winning the Florida Primary, DeSantis tweeted:
"Freedom is on the line this November — and our bold agenda for parental rights in education, safe communities, a vibrant economy, and a protected environment is vital to keeping the state of Florida free."