ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It was an early election night for the Crist campaign.
Shortly before 8:30 p.m. the former Florida Governor and current U.S. Congressman declared victory at a campaign watch party at the Hilton in downtown St. Petersburg.
“I want to thank Nikki Fried for fighting the good fight the last four years in Tallahassee. We share the same goal: to save our state and defeat DeSantis,” said Crist.
Governor Ron DeSantis, Crist’s opponent in November, remains the proverbial 800-pound elephant in the room.
With a campaign war chest topping $130 million, DeSantis is considered by many political followers to be the frontrunner in the fall election.
Crist, however, hopes to use DeSantis’s national popularity against him, claiming the governor is too focused on future races.
“This guy wants to be President of the United States of America, and everybody knows it,” Crist said, referring to Governor DeSantis.
“However, when we defeat him on November 8th, that show is over!”
Crist served four years in the governor’s mansion from 2007 to 2011.
At the time, Crist was a republican, but he now says he “doesn’t recognize any of the leaders of the Republican party.”
While Democrats have now gone nearly three decades without winning the governor’s race in Florida, Crist hopes women voters will be his ticket to victory.
In recent weeks, Crist has promised to sign an executive order on day one, we're here to win, to protect the right to abortion in Florida.
He also vowed to reinstate Tampa Bay area prosecutor Andrew Warren, who was removed from office by DeSantis after Warren announced he wouldn’t prosecute the state’s 15-week abortion ban.
“This is the most consequential race in the history of our state,” said Crist.
“And when we win in November we will send shockwaves across this country.”