ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist says he will run for Florida governor in 2022.
Crist announced the bid on Twitter Tuesday morning ahead of a scheduled press conference in his hometown of St. Petersburg where he was set to make a "major announcement."
Florida should be a place where hard work is rewarded, justice is equal, and opportunity is right in front of you. That's a Florida for all — and that's why I'm running for Governor.— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) May 4, 2021
Join us: https://t.co/ayqK3371Ik pic.twitter.com/l1OksxMP1y
Crist previously served as Florida's governor from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican. Crist then switched his affiliation to Independent then to Democrat.
"He's the only republican I even voted for when he was a republican," said Jon Whipple, a supporter of Crist.
Crist says his decision to run again came after a lot of prayer.
"The final question to myself was, where can I do the most good for the most people and I think that’s in the governor’s office in Florida. I love Florida, I always have, and I think Florida deserves better," said Crist.
On Tuesday, in front of supporters in his hometown of St. Pete, Crist publicly announced entering the 2022 race for governor.
Crist says his campaign platforms include protecting civil rights, tackling climate change, and investing in education.
"We need him back in the governor’s mansion to support education, our children, and our community," said Wendy Carey a supporter of Crist from Hillsborough County.
Kelvin Wright says he supports Crist because he believes Crist genuinely cares and lives by the golden rule.
"We want to see unity and we don’t feel like we have that in the current administration," said Wright.
Governor Ron DeSantis was also in St. Petersburg this week. On Monday he signed an executive order that invalidates local emergency orders and COVID-19 restrictions.
“It not only reigns in the ability of local governments to do this stuff. It provides more check against the state which I fully support," said DeSantis.
Crist released a statement criticizing the move by DeSantis and said the governor failed to lead the state during the pandemic.
"Governor DeSantis's actions today strip local leaders of their ability to make decisions that protect their citizens. It's government overreach at its worst. Governor DeSantis is enabling the spread of the coronavirus while Florida is seeing 5,000 new cases of coronavirus daily and nearly 36,000 people tragically lost.
Governor DeSantis failed to lead during the pandemic, leaving local officials as the last line of defense against the pandemic, forcing them to make the hard decisions to save lives. This is a continuation of that immoral lack of leadership, and another reason why he doesn't deserve to be re-elected."
Crist won his re-election campaign to the U.S. House in Florida's 13th Congressional District in November.