Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, short of President Trump is the most popular leader in the Republican Party today. A majority of conservative publications and analysts safely consider him to be the front-runner for the 2024 Presidential nomination if President Trump does not run himself. The former RINO Governor of Florida turncoated to a Democrat Congressman, Charlie Crist (D-FL) has announced that he will challenge DeSantis for his Gubernatorial Seat in 2022.
Yup, Charlie…Crist. The same Charlie Crist who according to the Florida GOP is “still playing musical chairs with Florida political seats. He’s lost as a Republican, Independent and Democrat.” They added “Florida has a principled leader, decorated veteran and devoted public servant in Governor DeSantis who works daily to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Floridians and we look forward to his re-election in 2022.”
I'm running for governor to build a Florida for All – to stop division and hate, bring our state together, and finally open up opportunities for every Floridian. pic.twitter.com/l1OksxMP1y
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) May 4, 2021
So Who Is Charlie Crist?
Charlie Crist was a Republican once (like so many RINOs). From 93-99′ he was a State Senator, he then served as Education Commissioner and even Attorney General before being elected Governor as a moderate in 2006. Instead of running again for Governor in 2010 Crist ditched his state and sought his glory like the likes of former AZ Gov. Janet Napolitano, in Washinton, D.C. only to get smoked in the GOP Primary by who? Marco Rubio. Ouch.
Crist couldn’t just go into the good night though, he stayed in the 2010 Senate race as an independent and potential GOP spoiler. As luck would have it, instead of splitting the GOP vote, Crist split the Democrat vote with Kendrick B. Meek…. which should tell you something about Crist. Seemingly able to read the room, Crist took the hint and jumped parties in 2014 to run for Governor against Rick Scott who defeated him by about 64,000 votes.
Down but not yet out, Crist made a hail-mary run for Florida’s 13th Congressional District House Seat and finally got what he had wanted for six years: he was off to Washington after defeating Republican incumbent Congressman David Jolly by a narrow 13,544 votes, a margin of just 3.8%. As an incumbent he then successfully held his seat in 18′ and 20′.
Suffice it to say, that Crist has been around so he has name recognition going for him. But is it enough to take on the man who is easily the most popular and nationally well-known Governor of Florida since Jeb Bush? (Nope, I couldn’t keep a straight face … I’ll see myself out.)
What Are His Chances?
According to FiveThirtyEight a pre-announcement poll back in March put Crist within striking distance of DeSantis and he’s likely to enjoy a post-announcement bump, but even then the Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy poll only put Crist 11 points behind DeSantis. For the record: that’s not winning, that’s just losing well.
DeSantis Is Polling Strong.
A recent poll (April 12th) from Cygnal showed that Florida voters overwhelmingly approve of Gov. DeSantis’ handling of COVID-19. The wrote,
“Floridians overwhelmingly approve of Governor DeSantis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine distribution and don’t trust the media to report it fairly. “
“DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic has higher approval among Floridians (60%) than does President Biden’s (58%) or former President Trump’s (49%). Additionally, 72% of Florida voters approve of the state’s vaccine distribution. Specifically, 74% of voters approve of DeSantis’ decision to vaccinate seniors first, 72% approve of making Florida one of the first states where anyone over 18 can get a vaccine, and 58% approve of keeping the economy open throughout the pandemic.”
Even after the media attempted to smear Gov. DeSantis regarding his work with Publix to distribute the vaccine, the media’s efforts appeared to backfire badly with DeSantis gaining 8 points in favorability and the media losing about 14 points.
Its’ a long road to the 2022 race sitting here in May of 2021, but it certainly looks like DeSantis’ race to lose from here.