TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Democrat and longtime politician Charlie Crist has won the primary for governor in Florida and will face Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in November, according to a race call by The Associated Press.
The primary for governor has highlighted a split within the Democratic party in the state. Crist’s challenger, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, hammered him over his record as governor and for switching his stance on issues like abortion and criminal justice.
Crist outraised Fried and has run as a moderate by casting himself as the person most likely to beat DeSantis in November. He has tried to court unaffiliated voters and disaffected Republicans and has earned endorsements from top Democratic-leaning groups like the state’s teachers’ union.
When it comes to winning elections, Crist has a mixed record. He left the Republican party in 2010 to run as an independent against Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate. He made another run for governor as a Democrat in 2014 but lost by about a percentage point to Republican Rick Scott — now a U.S. Senator.