MIAMI (AP) — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist won the Democratic nomination for governor in Florida on Tuesday
setting him up to challenge Gov.
Ron DeSantis this fall in a campaign that the Republican incumbent sees as the first step toward a potential White House run.
In selecting Crist, Florida Democrats sided with a candidate backed by many in the party’s establishment who viewed him as the safest choice,
even after he lost his previous two statewide elections. The 66-year-old moderate,
who served as Florida’s Republican governor a decade ago,
hopes to appeal to voters in Florida’s teeming suburbs as Democrats seek to reverse a losing pattern in a state that was recently seen as a perennial political battleground.
Above all, the Democratic contest centered on DeSantis,
who views his November reelection as a potential springboard into the 2024 presidential contest.
Given the stakes, Democrats across Florida and beyond expressed a real sense of urgency to blunt DeSantis’ momentum.
“Tonight, the people of Florida clearly sent a message: They want a governor who cares about them and solves real problems,