UNITED STATES. Florida: Democratic voters have chosen congressman Charlie Crist to go up against Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis in the midterm elections.
Democrats choose Charlie Crist to overtake DeSantis
Charlie Crist gained political ground as he beat the state’s agriculture commissioner, Nikki Fried, on the final big election day before November’s vote.
Democrats are eager to overtake rising star DeSantis amid speculations of his presidential run in 2024.
Voters in Oklahoma and New York also picked candidates on Tuesday.
In the bustling state of New York, Democrat Pat Ryan defeated Republican Marc Molinaro in a special election for an open US House seat. That race could prove to be another game changer in the midterms.
The midterms are crucial as they will determine control of Congress for the final two years of Democratic President Joe Biden’s tenure in office.
Opinion polls indicate that Charlie Crist is currently trailing DeSantis by a few percentage points in Florida, which is a crucial swing state in presidential elections, as the state has grown more Republican during the governor’s tenure. Florida was also a key ally that fared well in Trump’s presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Charlie Crist was formerly a Republican who served a single term as the state’s governor before switching sides in 2012.
In an address, the victorious congressman lashed out against DeSantis without uttering his name. He said, “Tonight, the people of Florida clearly sent a message: they want a governor who cares about them and solves real problems, preserves our freedom, not a bully who divides us and takes our freedom away.”
DeSantis hit back and criticized Charlie Crist’s liberal ‘wokeness’ and said, “We will never ever surrender to the woke agenda. Florida is a state where woke goes to die.”
The Republican won his first election in 2018 by less than half a percentage point and has since become one of the most admired governors in the country.
Following the footsteps of his rival-party member, former president Trump, DeSantis has expressed fierce opposition to mask and vaccine mandates during the coronavirus pandemic and his staunch refusal to comprehend abortion laws or education.
His political ideologies are such that Republicans widely see him as a natural successor to former President Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, Florida Democratic voters also chose Val Demings, a congresswoman and former Orlando police chief, to overtake Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a former presidential hopeful, in November. Polls suggest Rubio is ahead with a firm lead. Like DeSantis, he ran unopposed in the primary elections.
Florida Republican congressman and Trump supporter Matt Gaetz emerged victorious despite being involved in a federal sex-trafficking investigation just before the elections.
Democrats have been looking for more political mileage this election season amid fears of President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings, inflation, and the overturning of abortion rights in the country.
Democrats are now charged more than ever to secure their candidates in as many red states as possible and further prevent blue states from turning red.