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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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Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
7 mins ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

48 mins ago - World

UN: 10,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates

A Palestinian woman walks after she collects her belongings inside her damaged house following an Israeli air in the northern Gaza Strip. Photo: Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The United Nations warned Friday that ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis," in not only the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but "the region as a whole."

The big picture: More than 125 Palestinians, including 31 children have been killed in Gaza since fighting began Monday, per the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Seven people, including one child, have been killed in Israel, according to Israeli authorities.

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