Charlie Crist has defeated Nikki Fried in Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial primary and will face rising GOP star and incumbent governor Ron DeSantis in the November general election.

With 88 percent of the expected vote counted, Crist, former governor of Florida and current U.S. representative, garnered 59.3 percent to opponent and state agriculture commissioner Fried’s 35.3 percent, according to NBC results. Crist prevailed in the vast majority of counties in the state with the exceptions of Bay, Alachua, and Columbia, where Fried won.

Recent polling projected a sweeping Crist victory over Fried by nearly 30 percentage points. A number of Democratic interest groups put their support behind Crist, who was considered the more moderate option to the younger, progressive Fried. He was endorsed by pro-abortion organization Emily’s List, the state teachers’ unions, the state AFL-CIO, and the state’s largest gay-rights group.

As of a July primary debate, neither candidate could say whether they’d support any limits to abortion access if elected, suggesting that the Democratic party’s radicalization on the issue has captured state contests, too. Crist dodged the question by blaming DeSantis, saying, “You know, the question really isn’t ‘what limits?’; the question is why do Republicans like Ron DeSantis not honor and respect a woman’s right to choose? That’s the issue we’re dealing with.” DeSantis, on the other hand, signed into law a ban on late abortions earlier this year.

Fried conducted her campaign by characterizing DeSantis as an authoritarian who tyrannized residents with his conservative executive and legislative initiatives. She went so far as to compare DeSantis to Hitler, a comment that was condemned by the Anti-Defamation League.

As for the odds of Crist beating DeSantis in the fall, in a state with an increasingly Republican-dominated electorate, they appear to be slim. In polling, DeSantis leads Crist by eight points, and FiveThirtyEight gives DeSantis a 92 percent chance of winning reelection.

A longtime politically purple swing state, Florida has shifted decisively Republican since the massive migration from Democratic states such as California and New York during the pandemic. In December 2021, the Florida Republican Party announced a voter-registration advantage over the Democrats for the first time in the history of the state. By March 2022, the margin had expanded to above 100,000, and it is still growing, presenting a political environment that seems favorable to DeSantis’s reelection.

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Charlie Crist Beats Nikki Fried in Florida Primary, Will Face Ron DeSantis in November

Crist, a former governor and current congressman, defeated Nikki Fried 59–35 percent in the Democratic ... READ MORE


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