U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist soundly defeated Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried during the Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary and will now move on to face incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis during the general election later this year.
DeSantis, who took office in 2019, has become an enormously popular figure on the political right, and could prove to be difficult to defeat in November.
A University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab poll from earlier this month found that among registered voters who indicated that they will vote during the midterm election, 50% indicated that they would vote for DeSantis while 42% indicated that they would back Crist if the two politicians were competing in the general election.
DeSantis served in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to serving as governor.
Crist previously served as the governor of the Sunshine State from early 2007 through early 2011 after being elected to the role as a Republican. He later lost a U.S. Senate bid in 2010 while running as an independent. In 2014, he lost the state's gubernatorial contest while running as a Democrat. Crist has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since early 2017.
Earlier this year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) threw her support behind Crist's candidacy. "I'm honored to receive the full support and endorsement of my colleague and friend, @SpeakerPelosi, as we work to build a Florida that truly works for all Floridians!" Crist tweeted.
Crist has called DeSantis "an autocrat" and "a demagogue," according to the Associated Press.
Fried has described DeSantis as "the most dangerous governor in the country."