Aug 24, 2022 - Politics

Florida primaries: It's Crist vs DeSantis — plus Tampa Bay results

Side-by-side images of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Charlie Crist.
Ron DeSantis and Charlie Crist. Photos: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida's Democrats have chosen U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist to face Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.

Why it matters: It's going to be an uphill battle. The win pits Crist, an affable, huggy two-time governor who gives constituents his cell phone number, against an exacting, confrontational DeSantis, who has found national support — and donors — with his headline-grabbing style.

Between the lines: Crist served as governor from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican, but his policies have radically changed since then.

  • Now, as a Democrat, his "justice for all" platform highlights a departure from his conservative political roots as "Chain Gang Charlie" — a nickname he was given by critics for his vocal opposition to prison recreation programs as governor, and for leading an effort to require prison work crews to wear shackles in public.

What's new: Tuesday night, Crist vowed that if he's elected as governor again, he'll sign an executive order protecting abortion rights on his first day in office.

What they're saying: "This is the most consequential race in the history of our state," Crist said in a speech after the race was called. "And when we win in November, we will send shockwaves across this country."

  • After Fried conceded, she told her supporters, "We are going to make Ron DeSantis a one-term governor, and a zero-term president of the United States. We Democrats have to come together like never before."

DeSantis, meanwhile, said at a rally Tuesday night, "It's not going to be easy, but this state is worth fighting for. Our country is worth fighting for. So put on the full armor of God and take a stand against the left's schemes."

Local race results

Anna Paulina Luna, who lost Florida's 13th Congressional District to Crist in 2020, is once again the seat's Republican primary winner. And she has a better shot at winning now that the seat is redrawn to lean Republican.

  • She'll face Eric Lynn, a former adviser to former President Barack Obama, who ran unopposed by other Democrats.

District 70 incumbent Michele Rayner has taken the Democratic nomination for her new district, 62. She's now running to represent southern St. Petersburg and the east Hillsborough areas of East Tampa, Gibsonton and Riverview.

  • Her Republican opponent is Jeremy M. Brown, who is in custody at the Pinellas County Jail on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Laurel Lee beat out Sen. Kelli Stargel and state Rep. Jackie Toledo for the Congressional District 15 Republican primary. She's now up against Democrat Alan Cohn.

Hillsborough County School Board: DeSantis-backed Stacy Hahn beat out Florida Democratic Party-endorsed Damaris Allen in the nonpartisan race for District 2.

  • Karen Perez, endorsed by the state's largest teachers union, beat DeSantis-endorsed Aly Legge for District 6.

Sarasota School Board: Bridget Ziegler, Tim Enos and Robyn Marinelli, the three candidates endorsed by DeSantis and the Republican Party of Sarasota County who supporters have dubbed "ZEM," won their nonpartisan races, flipping the school board from a 3-2 liberal majority to 4-1 conservative.

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