The Democratic challenger to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been revealed, and it turns out that he is a former Republican governor, ironically enough.
Rep. Charlie Christ, whose 13th Congressional District represents the St. Petersburg area, defeated other challengers including Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, currently the state’s only top elected Democratic official, to capture the party’s nomination heading into the November election.
“Crist, 66, last served in statewide office from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican governor. He lost a 2010 race for U.S. Senate as an independent and a 2014 run for governor as a Democrat,” Newsmax reported.
“In selecting Crist in the race for governor, Florida Democrats sided with a candidate backed by many in the party’s establishment who viewed him as the safest choice,” the report continued.
Ultimately, the outlet continued, the race was mostly about DeSantis and his political future after he narrowly won his race in 2018 and then went on to become one of the most popular Republican figures.
He took a less-is-more approach to the pandemic, shunning heavy-handed mandates and policies in favor of allowing Floridians more choices in how they wanted to deal with the virus. DeSantis has also taken a very conservative approach in dealing with racial divides along with favored left-wing policy wars over gender and LGBTQ issues, leading many Republicans to see him as the party’s heir apparent to former President Donald Trump — also a Florida resident.
“The dynamics are especially challenging for Democrats in Florida, one of the most politically divided states in the U.S. Its past three races for governor were decided by 1 percentage point or less. But the state has steadily become more favorable to Republicans in recent years,” Newsmax reported.
The outlet went on to note that during the DeSantis administration, Republicans — for the first time in the state’s history — now outnumber Democrats in terms of voter registration by more than 200,000.
What’s more, “Republicans have no primary competition for four of those five positions — governor, U.S. Senate, attorney general and chief financial officer — which are all held by GOP incumbents,” the report continued.
According to Conservative Brief, DeSantis leads Crist by 8 points, 51-43 percent.
During a Tuesday morning interview with Fox News, however, DeSantis mostly took aim at Fried, who has been a frequent critic of his policies.
“You talk to Floridians who have been here for a long time, people that have come over the last few years, the reason why they are doing that, the reason why they are happy with Florida is because we protected their freedoms. We stood in the way of lockdowners like Nikki Fried who opposed every decision I made to protect people’s rights,” he said.
“And when she says you don’t have freedom of speech in the classroom, understand what she means. She wants to use our schools to indoctrinate students into her ideology. And our position on schools is that the purpose of the school system to educate kids, not to indoctrinate kids. So, yes, we oppose things like Critical Race Theory in our K-12 schools,” he added.
“We want to teach accurate history, we want to teach American civics, and we want to make sure that parents have confidence sending their kids to school, that schools are going to be focused on the core academic subjects and not try to inject left-wing ideology into the curriculum,” DeSantis said.