Charlie Crist announces candidacy and braces for an onslaught of attack ads from Rick Scott

Local Democrats embrace Crist in Governor's race

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - "Yeah. I'm running as a Democrat and I am proud to do it," proclaimed Charlie Crist in front of a veritable "Who's Who" of his adoptive party.

Crist announced his candidacy Monday morning at Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg---the hometown that launched his political career, first as State Senator, then as Education Commissioner, Attorney General and the Governor.  

Crist promised to invest more in education, senior services and the environment while un-doing one of incumbent Governor, Rick Scott's most unpopular decisions.

"Yes, my friends, we are going to renew the effort create high speed rail and mass transit systems" said Crist referring to Scott's refusal to accept two billion dollars in federal money to build a bullet train from Tampa to Orlando.

Crist, who has called himself the 'People's Governor', accused Rick Scott of looking out for big business and the wealthy first. 

Crist claims to be undaunted by the reported $100 million his opponent is prepared to spend to keep his job.

"If we are tireless in our desire to make Florida a better place, then Rick Scott can spend a billion dollars on dishonest ads and it won't matter" said Crist to roaring approval.

For their part, the GOP is already an ad that paints Crist as an opportunistic job hopper who presided over soaring unemployment and a collapsing economy.

"The ultimate question is are we going to want somebody who's nice and popular? Or are we going to want somebody who's a leader and has taken Florida in the right direction?" asked Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson.

Crist faces a primary contest with former State Representative, Nan Rich who claims to be the real Democrat in the race. 

Charlie Crist will have to seize that mantle if he wants Democratic voters to support him.    

Most polls show Charlie Crist beating Rick Scott if the election were held today. The primary is scheduled for August 26 and the general election for November 4 of 2014. 

Governor Rick Scott was in Japan during today's announcement on a trade mission.

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