As Democrats pick between a guy who spent a career in politics, most of it as a Republican, and a woman pitching herself as “something new” as she seeks the energy of her party’s rising base, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is about to find out who his general election rival is.
Charlie Crist, a 66-year-old Democratic congressman who presided as the state’s Republican governor more than ten years ago, has received support from the majority of the Democratic establishment. Currently running as a moderate Democrat, Crist is up against 44-year-old Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who wants to make history by becoming the first woman governor of the state while supporting abortion rights.
In the end, the contest comes down to who is best positioned to beat DeSantis, who rose to prominence in politics after a razor-thin win four years ago. Many Republican supporters who consider DeSantis as the obvious successor to former President Donald Trump have expressed support for his generally non-confrontational approach to the crisis and his willingness to delve into differences over race, gender, and LGBTQ rights.
Democrats feel pressured to stop his ascent now since it is generally believed that his campaign for reelection is a prelude to a 2024 presidential bid.
“I have experienced firsthand. Fried said to The Associated Press, “I am taking on DeSantis. Because he won’t have a 2022, DeSantis “won’t have a 2024.” All of his plans to run for president of the United States will be crushed if we defeat him in November.
In a recent interview, Crist called DeSantis a danger to democracy.
“He is the antithesis of liberty. He is a despot. He is a populist. A group Florida high school students were chastised earlier this year by DeSantis for donning face masks during an indoor press conference, and I believe people are sick of him,” Crist said of the outgoing Republican governor. What’s his name? How does he see himself? He is not in charge.
The Florida primary concludes the year’s busiest primary season. Republican candidates who have accepted Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged have received support from Republicans from Pennsylvania to Arizona. This claim has been roundly refuted by election authorities, the previous president’s attorney general, and judges he nominated.
Additionally, Democrats have often shied away from bloody primary battles. Tuesday’s congressional primary in New York, where two influential Democratic committee chairmen, Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, are vying for the same seat and other incumbents are fighting off left-wing threats, may put it to the test.
Democrats are hopeful that the Supreme Court’s ruling removing a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion would energise their base as they go into the final weeks before the midterm elections. However, there are still many challenges for Democrats, such as the shaky economy and the historical fact that most parties lose seats in the first midterm election after a presidential victory.
In Florida, one of the most politically split states in the United States, the dynamics are particularly difficult for Democrats. The margin of victory in the past three gubernatorial elections was one percentage point or less. But in recent years, the state has gradually shifted in favor of Republicans.
For the first time in modern history, Florida has a greater number of Republicans with almost 5.2 million registered voters than Democrats with just under 5 million. Fried is the only Democrat holding a statewide position. And for four of the five positions—governor, U.S. Senate, attorney general, and chief financial officer—which are all controlled by GOP incumbents, Republicans lack a primary challenger.
Democrats are hoping that U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who faces a lesser-known opponent in her Senate primary on Tuesday, can upset Republican Marco Rubio, the state’s senior U.S. senator, in fall. However, the party’s national leadership is now giving challenging Senate races in other states, such as the nearby states of Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, priority.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion has energized the last weeks of the Democratic primary in Florida’s governor’s race.
Fried has capitalized on Crist’s nomination of two conservative Supreme Court justices when he was governor to position herself as the sole genuine proponent of abortion rights in the campaign.
The Republican-backed state legislature passed a legislation banning abortions beyond 15 weeks, and the conservative-leaning court will shortly rule whether or not this measure is lawful. There are several exceptions to Florida’s new abortion legislation, such as when the operation is required to save the pregnant woman’s life, avoid significant damage, or if the baby has a fatal defect. There are no exceptions allowed for rape, incest, or human trafficking instances.
In order to prove his “pro-choice” stance, Crist cited a measure he rejected in 2010 while serving as governor and which would have mandated that women seeking a first-trimester abortion get and pay for an ultrasound examination.
The AP was informed by Crist that “a woman has the right to choose.” “My track record is spotless. And for my opponent to attempt to cloud that is revolting, unjust, and foolish.
Voters can clearly see the difference between Fried, a fresher face who may be better able to ignite the party’s most ardent supporters, and Crist, a longtime politician supported by the establishment and seen as a reasonably safe pick.
This election campaign, Crist has raised $14 million, almost twice as much as Fried. His fans praise him as dependable and friendly with a great recall. He has held political office since 1992.
“He is Florida’s top retail politician in the twenty-first century. He is just a superb politician. He addresses my grandkids by name,” said political consultant Mac Stipanovich, a former chief of staff to former Republican governor Bob Martinez.
Fried, meantime, has doubled the amount of followers on all social media platforms and is fast to follow online trends. She established a reputation as one of DeSantis’ sharpest rivals by often pressing him on his position on the COVID-19 pandemic policy. As DeSantis pursues what the Human Rights Campaign recently referred to as “an attack on transgender Floridians,” she also established a post inside her department to guarantee LGBTQ individuals are given chances.
The “Don’t Say Gay” measure, which DeSantis signed into law, forbids education on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and places restrictions on them in higher schools. He also supported the “halt WOKE act,” which forbids discussion and analysis of race in the workplace and in schools, despite the fact that a Florida court last week ruled that the statute violates the right to free expression.
These matters have improved DeSantis’ popularity among GOP voters.
In front of more than 1,000 Pennsylvania voters at a rally over the weekend, the governor of Florida bragged about his accomplishments after recently supporting Republican friends in Ohio, Arizona, and New Mexico.
DeSantis was there on official business to support Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor. But in his speech to his Pittsburgh audience, DeSantis scarcely mentioned Mastriano’s name and instead focused on the political conflicts he went to war with in Florida to combat left “woke ideology.”
He omitted to indicate that he is this year’s gubernatorial candidate.
“The people will be with you if you lead and lead with power and bravery and you provide results,” DeSantis stated.