By Adriana Gomez Licon, Steve Peoples and Brendan Farrington
Updated August 24, 2022
Crist, Fried face-off in Florida Democratic Governor Primary | LiveNOW from FOX
In Florida, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried is facing off against current Congressman Charlie Crist in the Democrat gubernatorial primary to determine who will take on incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in the November general election.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist won the Democratic nomination for governor in Florida, setting him up to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis this fall in a campaign that the Republican incumbent sees as the first step toward a potential White House run.
In selecting Crist on Tuesday, Florida Democrats sided with a candidate backed by many in the party’s establishment who viewed him as the safest choice, even after he lost his previous two statewide elections. The 66-year-old moderate, who served as Florida's Republican governor a decade ago, hopes to appeal to voters in Florida’s teeming suburbs as Democrats seek to reverse a losing pattern in a state that was recently seen as a perennial political battleground.
FILE - Charlie Crist, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Florida, speaks to members of the media before casting a ballot at a polling location in Saint Petersburg, Florida, US, on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022. (Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Above all, the Democratic contest centered on DeSantis, who views his November reelection as a potential springboard into the 2024 presidential contest. Given the stakes, Democrats across Florida and beyond expressed a real sense of urgency to blunt DeSantis' momentum.
Crist decried DeSantis as an "abusive" and "dangerous" "bully" in his victory speech.
"Tonight, the people of Florida clearly sent a message: They want a governor who cares about them and solves real problems, preserves our freedom, not a bully who divides us and takes our freedom away," Crist declared. "This guy wants to be president of the United States of America and everybody knows it. However, when we defeat him on Nov. 8 that show is over. Enough."
Crist won the Democratic nomination over Nikki Fried, the state agriculture commissioner. She staked out a more progressive campaign and was particularly vocal in defending abortion and LGBTQ rights. The 44-year-old cast herself as "something new" and hoped to become Florida’s first female governor. In a sign of the party’s meager standing in Florida, she’s currently the only Democrat holding statewide office.
"We are going to make Ronald DeSantis a one-term governor and a zero-term president of the United States," she said as she conceded Tuesday, calling on her supporters to unite behind Crist.
FILE - Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during the Turning Point 'Unite & Win' Rally with Republican Senate Candidate JD Vance in Girard, Ohio, US, on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022. (Dustin Franz/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
DeSantis won his first election by less than half a percentage point but soon became one of the most prominent figures in GOP politics. His hands-off approach to the coronavirus pandemic and eagerness to lean into divides over race, gender and LGBTQ rights have resonated with many Republican voters who see DeSantis as a natural heir to former President Donald Trump.
From a raucous ballroom in Miami Tuesday night, a fiery DeSantis declined to say Crist's name and instead cast the general election as a contest against President Joe Biden and "woke" ideology.
"We will never ever surrender to the woke agenda," DeSantis charged. "Florida is a state where woke goes to die."
The Florida contest concludes the busiest stretch of primaries this year, which featured contests in 18 states over just 22 days. In that span, Republicans from Arizona to Alaska have supported contenders who embraced Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen, an assertion roundly rejected by elections officials, the former president’s attorney general and judges he appointed.
And for the most part, Democrats avoided brutal primary fights — with some exceptions.
New York City Democrats on Tuesday picked Jerry Nadler over Carolyn Maloney in a congressional primary that featured two powerful House committee chairs competing for the same seat. To the north of the city, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democratic Party’s congressional campaign chief, won a tough primary fight against a more progressive state senator.
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Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) speaks to the media after voting in his upper West Side district on August 23, 2022 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Not far away, in upstate New York, Democrats celebrated county executive Pat Ryan's victory in a special election to fill the remainder of Democrat Anthony Delgado's term. Delgado left Congress to become New York's lieutenant governor.
Republicans hoped to flip the swing district, which becomes a new sign that the red wave many operatives expect this fall may be weakening.
Jerry Nadler thanks Carolyn Maloney after defeating her in New York democratic primary | LiveNOW from FOX
New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler has defeated Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., in the primary race to represent New York's newly drawn 12th Congressional District. Nadler and Maloney, both leading Democrats in the House, were forced into a competition to represent the Manhattan district after their respective New York City districts were combined in the state's redistricting process following the 2020 census. Nadler, first elected to Congress in 1992 to represent the state's 17th Congressional District, has served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee since 2019 and largely represented the city's Upper West Side. Aiming to defeat Maloney in the election, Nadler received endorsements from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and the New York Times.
Indeed, Democrats are entering the final weeks ahead of the midterms with a sense of cautious optimism, hoping the Supreme Court's decision overturning a woman's constitutional right to an abortion will energize the party's base. But Democrats still face tremendous headwinds, including economic uncertainty and the historic reality that most parties lose seats in the first midterm after they've won the White House.
The dynamics are especially challenging for Democrats in Florida, one of the most politically divided states in the U.S. Its last three races for governor were decided by 1 percentage point or less. But the state has steadily become more favorable to Republicans in recent years.
For the first time in modern history, Florida has more registered Republicans — nearly 5.2 million — than Democrats, who have nearly 5 million registered voters. Fried serves as the only Democrat in statewide office. And Republicans have no primary competition for four of those five positions – governor, U.S. Senate, attorney general and chief financial officer — which are all held by GOP incumbents.
U.S. Rep. Val Demings easily won the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio this fall. Demings, a former police chief and a prodigious political fundraiser, has a chance to become Florida’s first Black female senator.
FILE - U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) speaks at an election-night event at the Varsity Club at Camping World Stadium on August 23, 2022 in downtown Orlando, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
While some Democrats are hopeful that Demings can unseat Rubio, the party's national leadership is prioritizing competitive Senate contests in other states, including neighboring Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Demings was optimistic as she reflected on her unlikely life story before a crowd of cheering supporters.
"Together, I really do believe this daughter of a maid and janitor who is not supposed to be standing here tonight — I really do believe that together we can do anything," she said.
In Florida's governor's race, the Supreme Court's abortion decision animated the final weeks of the Democratic primary.
Fried promoted herself as the only true abortion-rights supporter in the race, seizing on Crist’s appointment of two conservative Supreme Court justices while he was governor.
The conservative-leaning court will soon decide whether the Republican-backed state legislature's law to ban abortions after 15 weeks is constitutional. Florida’s new abortion law is in effect, with exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life, to prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow exemptions in cases of rape, incest or human trafficking.
Crist vowed Tuesday night to make abortion rights a priority.
"On Day One of my administration, I will sign an executive order protecting a woman’s right to choose," he said.
Elsewhere in Florida, Trump protégé Rep. Matt Gaetz won his Republican primary in his Florida Panhandle district despite being under federal investigation in a sex trafficking case. Gaetz is heavily favored to win a fourth term come November.
FILE - Congressman Matt Gaetz speaks during CPAC Texas 2022 conference at Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX on August 6, 2022. (Lev Radin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Florida is not expected to be among the most competitive states this fall given its rightward shift, but it may be the most expensive.
Crist raised $14 million so far this election cycle, nearly twice as much as Fried. But he’s going up against a fundraising behemoth. DeSantis’ political operation has already raised more than $165 million since he took office, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He’s on pace to shatter the record for the most money ever raised by a candidate for governor.
"Don’t let anyone tell you it’s going to be easy. Over the next two and a half months, they’re gonna throw everything they have at us," DeSantis said. He added, "I got elected less than four years ago, but we’re just getting warmed up."
Peoples reported from Washington, Farrington from Tallahassee. Associated Press writers Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Curt Anderson in St. Petersburg, and Marc Levy in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.
On December 7, 2012, Crist joined the Democratic Party, having endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection in 2012. On November 1, 2013, he announced that he was running for governor in the 2014 election. Crist lost to Republican Governor Rick Scott, his successor, by a 1% margin.Who did Ron DeSantis run against in the primary? ›
Incumbent two-term Republican governor Rick Scott was term-limited and could not run for a third term, so he instead ran for Florida's Class I Senate seat. Republican U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis narrowly defeated Democratic Mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum for the governorship, in what some considered an upset.What is Nikki Fried doing now? ›
Nicole Heather Fried (/friːd/ FREED; born December 13, 1977) is an American lawyer and politician who has served as the 12th Florida Commissioner of Agriculture since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, Fried graduated from the University of Florida in 2003.How many terms can a governor serve in Florida? ›
How long does the Governor serve and can he or she serve more than one term? The governor holds the office for four years and can choose to run for reelection. The Governor is not eligible to serve more than eight years in any twelve-year period.Who is running for Florida governor 2022? ›
Incumbent Republican governor Ron DeSantis is seeking re-election to a second term and will face off against the Democratic nominee, former U.S. Representative and former governor Charlie Crist in the general election.Is Charlie Crist married? ›
Charlie CristWho ran for governor in Florida? ›
|Republican||Ron DeSantis / Jeanette Núñez||49.59%|
|Democratic||Andrew Gillum / Chris King||49.19%|
|Reform||Darcy G. Richardson / Nancy Argenziano||0.57%|
|Independent||Kyle "KC" Gibson / Ellen Wilds||0.30%|
Charlie CristHow old is Nikki Fried? › What high school did Nikki Fried go to? ›
A state of emergency may not continue for longer than 30 days unless extended by a joint resolution of the legislature, which may also terminate a state of emergency by joint resolution at any time. The governor shall issue an executive order ending the state of emergency on receipt of the Legislature's resolution.Who is the longest serving governor in U.S. history? ›
|#||Governor||Time in office|
|1||Terry Branstad||8,169 days|
|2||George Clinton||7,635 days|
|3||George Wallace||5,848 days|
|4||Jerry Brown||5,847 days|
What is the governor's term of office? The governor serves a four-year term. The governor may serve any number of terms, but he or she cannot serve more than two terms in a row.What party is Val Demings associated with? ›
She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Black Caucus. As of March 2022, Demings had voted in line with Biden's stated position 100% of the time.How old is Charlie Crist? › Does the governor of Florida live in the mansion? ›
The Governor's Mansion is located at 700 North Adams Street in Tallahassee; just ten blocks north of the Florida State Capitol. The mansion is home to the governor and first family of Florida.What nationality is the name DeSantis? ›
DeSantis or De Santis is an Italian surname. Use of the surname most frequently refers to Ron DeSantis, the 46th and current governor of Florida and a former member of the US House of Representatives.Is DeSantis wife OK? › What is Carole Crist doing now? ›
Crist is currently founder and CEO of CLC Global Advisors, a philanthropic and entrepreneurial venture focused on impact investing.How old is Ron DeSantis? ›
Incumbent Republican governor Ron DeSantis is seeking re-election to a second term and will face off against the Democratic nominee, former U.S. Representative and former governor Charlie Crist in the general election.Who were all the governors of Florida? › What is Carole Crist doing now? ›
Crist is currently founder and CEO of CLC Global Advisors, a philanthropic and entrepreneurial venture focused on impact investing.How old is Crist? › Who is Charlie Crist wife? ›
Charlie CristHow old is Charlie Crist? › How many years can a governor serve? ›
The Governor of a State is appointed by the President for a term of five years and holds office during his pleasure.Who was the first territorial governor of Florida? ›
William Pope DuVal, the first Territorial Governor of Florida, 1822-1834, was born in Mount Comfort, Virginia, in 1784.How do you become a governor of a state? ›
- be a natural-born citizen of Lagos State.
- be at least thirty-five years old;
- be a member of a register political party and must be sponsored by that political party.
- Must possess at least, the West Africa School Certificate or its equivalent.
Christ comes from the Greek word χριστός (chrīstós), meaning "anointed one". The word is derived from the Greek verb χρίω (chrī́ō), meaning "to anoint." In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Mašíaḥ, messiah), meaning "[one who is] anointed".Who was the former governor of Florida? ›
Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Rick Scott served two terms as the 45th Governor of Florida, working every day to turn around Florida's economy and secure the state's future as the best place for families and businesses to succeed.