Charlie Crist (D), who was the Governor of Florida from January 2007 to January 2011, became last week the first Democrat to declare that he is a candidate in next year’s election for the same office. It is certain that incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis (R) will be running for re-election next year, and nearly certain that the Republican Party will obligingly renominate him. So Crist is running in the first instance to be the one to oppose DeSantis.
Crist’s political career has seen a lot of movement on specific issues, usually from “right” to “left.” For example, in September 2005, Crist, then Florida’s Attorney General, publicly announced his support for an amendment to Florida’s constitution barring same-sex marriages. The following year, while running for Governor, he said that he favored traditional marriage but he thought a constitutional amendment unnecessary. After becoming Governor, Crist said that the issue was not one that “moves me” because “I’m just a live and let live kind of guy.”
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One can of course call that sort of change “growth” or “opportunism” or something else. Crist, regardless, is the first prominent Democrat to announce his campaign for this post. And he almost certainly will not be the last. It is likely to be a crowded and very competitive race.