ST PETERSBURG (CBSMiami) – Rep. Charlie Crist wants his old job as Florida’s governor back.
On Tuesday, the Republican turned Democrat announced his gubernatorial run in St. Petersburg.READ MORE: Gov. Ron DeSantis Pledges to 'Fight Like Hell' Over Monoclonal Antibody Treatment
In announcing his run, Crist attacked Gov. Ron DeSantis and for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He’s failed to lead during the greatest health and economic crisis of our lifetime. Local officials were forced to fend for themselves, without direction from our state. Scientists and doctors offered advice but he listened to quacks and conspiracy theorists,” he said.
Crist said the governor has waged a constant assault on democracy, from voting rights to civil rights.
“He’s promised tax cuts to the wealthy, corporations, and the well connected, yet our unemployment benefits are still some of the lowest in America. Governor DeSantis’ vision of Florida is clear, if you want to vote he won’t help you. If you’re working, he won’t support you. If you’re a woman, he won’t empower you. If you’re an immigrant, he won’t accept you and if you’re facing discrimination, he won’t respect you. That’s not a vision for our state,” he said.
He said opportunity should be available for everyone who works hard and pointed out that millions of people are just barely getting by.
“During this pandemic, Black and Hispanic residents are more likely to get COVID, more likely to die from it, more likely to be unemployed, and less likely to receive a vaccine. A century ago our country welcomed my grandfather, gave him the opportunity to work hard and rise up. Today working people are still full of hope, still working hard. but too many are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. This isn’t by accident. The deck is stacked against the middle class aided and abetted by Governor Ron DeSantis and his Republican allies in Tallahassee,” he said.
WATCH: REP. CHARLIE CRIST NEWS CONFERENCE IN ST. PETERSBURGREAD MORE: South Florida Rent Is Skyrocketing
Crist said change is not going to be easy but if everyone rises up they can’t stay on top.
“It looks like Charlie Crist and his fan will have yet another chance to blow hot air around Florida in his perennial quest to stay relevant. Floridians know that Crist is nothing but an attempted opportunist, and will send him packing once and for all,” Republican National Committee spokesperson Savannah Viar in a statement.
Crist has a penchant for using fans during appearances to help keep him cool.
Crist served as governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican.
In 2010, he dropped out of the Republican primary for U.S. Senate and ran as an independent. He then switched his party affiliation in 2012 to Democrat.
In 2014, Crist tried to win back the governor’s job but lost to Republican Rick Scott. Crist has now served three terms in the U.S. House.
Crist may not be the only high-profile Democrat vying for the governor’s office in 2022. State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Rep. Val Demings are also eying a run.MORE NEWS: ‘We're Looking For All Aspects’: Las Olas Businesses Seeking Workers
DeSantis has not officially said if he will seek a second term.