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Charlie Crist Expected To Announce Run For Governor - Again

Congressman Charlie Crist hugs a supporter during a rally for Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum in 2018
Daylina Miller/WUSF News
Congressman Charlie Crist hugs a supporter during a rally for Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum in 2018

This would be the current St. Petersburg Congressman's third race for the governor's mansion.

Congressman Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, is expected to announce Tuesday that he's seeking to recapture his former seat in the governor's mansion.

Crist, who was a Republican until 2012, has scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning in his hometown of St. Petersburg.

if Crist runs, some things will work in his favor -- and others won't, said Zac Anderson, political editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

"He's certainly - amongst the Democrats that are considering running - I think is by far the best known," Anderson said. "He's run two statewide races for governor. He's also run multiple other statewide races for U.S. Senate, for education commissioner, twice he ran for attorney general and won."

Anderson noted the Democratic Party is swinging more to the left, so Crist could be considered a centrist who wouldn't do as well in the primary.

"He's considered more of a moderate, so that could be a challenge for him in a Democratic primary," he said. "You saw the candidate who was nominate the last time around, Andrew Gillum, was the most liberal candidate out there, so progressives have a lot of momentum in the party."

But he said there could be as many as five or six candidates running on the Democratic ticket. So Crist could sneak in with a minority of the vote.

"He's a white man. So in a Democratic Party that is trying to get more diverse, a female candidate, a minority candidate, I think there's some appetite for that," Anderson said. "So that could hurt him as well."

But Anderson said Crist will likely put forth the argument that he's better situated to win a general election than a more progressive Democrat.

This would be the Congressman’s third run for Governor, after serving from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican.

He served as a Republican governor before losing a bid for Senate as an independent. He then became a Democrat, and after losing to Rick Scott for governor in 2014, won his U.S. House seat two years later.

Crist would be the first major Democratic candidate in the race. He’d likely face Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat. And Congresswoman Val Demings of Orlando, who was on the short list for Biden's vice president, is also rumored to be interested in running for governor.

Crist has already attacked Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis — who on Monday appeared at a St. Petersburg restaurant Crist is known to frequent called The Big Catch. Crist took to twitter, alluding to his announcement and a likely campaign .

Crist also responded to DeSantis signing an executive order there suspending any local pandemic-related restrictions.

“Governor DeSantis's actions today strip local leaders of their ability to make decisions that protect their citizens. It's government overreach at its worst. Governor DeSantis is enabling the spread of the coronavirus while Florida is seeing 5,000 new cases of coronavirus daily and nearly 36,000 people tragically lost."

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.