Mar 16, 2021 - Politics
Crist "strongly considering" another run for Florida governor
Rep. Charlie Crist (left) and Heavy's Food Truck owner Kendrick Scott (right) in front of the Heavy's truck. Photo: Selene San Felice/Axios

Rep. Charlie Crist's hat sits teetering at the edge of the 2022 ring.

The state of play: The St. Petersburg Democrat told Axios he is "seriously considering running for governor" while on a tour of local businesses on Monday.

  • That's a bit firmer than his response to the question just a month ago: "My mind is open to it."
  • Crist visited a hair salon, a deli and a food truck to make sure they can secure small business loans as part of the stimulus package — and to casually mention he is thinking of running for governor.

The big picture: The race against Gov. Ron DeSantis will be decided 15 years after Crist was elected as a Republican governor — and a decade since he switched parties. He went from "Chain Gang Charlie" to saying "God bless Joe Biden."

  • This sets up 2022 to have two major Tampa Bay contenders for governor. David Jolly is considering running as an independent.
  • Other possible Democratic contenders from across the state are former Rep. Gwen Graham, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Reps. Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy.

Crist took a jab at DeSantis' vaccine rollout while sitting in a salon chair at Tabatha Exquisite Touch on Central Avenue:

"We're in a crisis. Some people don't know it. They may live in places where they don't get to see it. ... Places like Lakewood Ranch or Ocean Reef, where the governor likes to go to hand out the vaccine. He doesn't come to South St. Pete."

Worth noting: Criticizing DeSantis may not be enough for Crist as some other Democrats are already doubting him.

  • A Florida Democratic National Committee member told told Politico he doesn't think Crist is exciting enough to beat DeSantis.

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained a quote from Florida lawyer John Morgan calling Charlie Crist a "cold fish." Morgan was not, in fact, referring to Crist. The quote has been removed from this story and we regret the mistake.

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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