DeSantis has his November opponent: Ex-Gov. Cristo

His attacks, however, never really caught on with Democrats, and Crist, 66, racked up endorsements from prominent Democrats as the party coalesced around him rather than Fried, 44, who won’t. was elected only since 2018. and was trying to become Florida’s first female governor. His campaign slogan and prominent social media hashtag was “Something New.”

Crist had led most public polls, raised far more money than Fried, and had the bulk of the Florida Democratic Party’s institutional support behind his campaign, underscoring his three decades in Florida politics. The party will now begin the rallying process and is planning a unity event in Orlando on Thursday.

“Tonight the people of Florida clearly sent a message,” Crist said Tuesday night. at his victory party. “They want a governor who cares about them, to solve the real problems, who preserves our freedom. Not a tyrant who divides us and deprives us of our freedom.

“We’re going to beat Ron DeSantis in November,” he said to loud applause. He also thanked Fried, saying they shared the same goal in wanting to beat the governor.

Crist now enters the general election after a contentious and costly primary to run against DeSantis, who had no real primary enemy and sits on more than $130 million between his campaign and an aligned political committee.

While Fried’s career as an elected official may be over for now, she plans to move forward with a proposed citizens’ initiative protecting abortion rights. Fried has already huddled with lawyers to craft a measure and get enough signatures to put it on the 2024 ballot.

“We’re not going to stop fighting,” Fried said in his concession speech Tuesday evening. “I’ve been a fighter and a champion for the people of our state all my life. And even though tonight didn’t turn out the way we had hoped, I know tonight is the start of a new chapter.

Throughout the primary, Fried campaigned against abortion restrictions, including Florida’s new law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law does not provide exemptions for victims of rape or incest. She stepped up those efforts after the Supreme Court struck down federal abortion protections enshrined in Roe vs. Wade.

“Win or lose, this fight doesn’t go away,” Fried said in an interview during a campaign stop days before the primary.

During that same interview, Fried said she “had no idea” if she would run for office again. She said she was not a “career politician”, but added that “I will never stop serving the people of our state”. Before being elected as Florida’s commissioner of agriculture, Fried was a marijuana lobbyist.

For most of the primary, Crist tried to maintain his reputation as a “happy warrior”. But in the last week of the campaign, he a lot spent on negative ads hitting her for a previous $2,000 contribution to Republican Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and her relationship with the Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, a pro-Trump firebrand who previously served in the Florida House. Fried’s campaign responded by calling on all Crist supporters to “disown” him.

“It’s time for any woman who supported Charlie Crist’s campaign to speak up, deny him and reject his lies about supporting women and women’s health,” said Fried’s spokeswoman, Caroline Korba. “He’s an impostor, a coward and a three-time (about to be a four-time) loser.”

Crist previously served as governor from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican, but near the end of his term he quit the GOP as he prepared to run for the Senate against blonde framewho at the time had become a darling of the burgeoning tea party movement and was considered the overwhelming favorite for the Republican nomination.

Crist ran unsuccessfully for the Senate as an independent and became a registered Democrat in 2012 before his 2014 failure against GOP Gov. Rick Scott. Since then, he has twice been elected as a Democrat to a St. Petersburg-based congressional seat. He was a staple of Florida politics for nearly three decades, beginning his political career as a state senator in 1992 and over the years as state education commissioner, state attorney general, governor and member of Congress.

It’s unclear who Crist will pick as his running mate, but those in the running include former Democratic state Rep. Sean Shaw, a former black state rep who served as a key surrogate for the Christ’s campaign; former Rep. Gwen Graham, who is currently assistant secretary for education in the Biden administration; and Karla Hernandez-Matz, president of the United Teachers of Dade.

DeSantis holds a nearly six-point lead over Crist, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average, but the governor has yet to fully commit. He spent little of his war chest during the primary and only recently appeared on television with his first commercial.

Largely because DeSantis reopened Florida’s economy faster than most other states during the pandemic, he became a rockstar with conservatives in Florida and across the country, catapulting him into the top tier of candidates. potential Republicans in the 2024 presidential race and making him one of the most popular. Republican governors of the country.

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