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Charlie Crist opposes Gov. Ron DeSantis; Abortion in Florida; New voting rules

Crist.JPG
Daylina Miller
/
WUSF
Charlie Crist speaks to a crowd in St. Petersburg after winning the Democratic nomination for governor on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist won Tuesday's Democratic primary for Florida governor this week in a landslide, trouncing Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Now, it’s an 11-week sprint to Election Day and a confrontation with incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis that is being watched across the country. DeSantis is heavily favored to win re-election.

Crist is off and running, pulling in more than $1 million in donations in the first 24 hours after his victory, but he’ll need a lot more days like that to be competitive financially against his opponent. DeSantis has amassed a $100 million campaign war chest and is favored to win re-election in a state where registered Republicans now outnumber Democrats for the first time.

Appearing this week on Fox News, DeSantis dismissed the challenge from Crist and said that he's confident his record will be a winning one with Florida voters this November. He pointed to everything from his pandemic response to his efforts to get conservatives elected to Florida school boards. He also noted Crist recently said he doesn’t want the votes of diehard DeSantis supporters.

Crist says he is banking on the goodwill and familiarity he has built up with voters of both parties over decades in public life, holding a variety of offices including the governor’s post. The former Republican became an independent, then a Democrat.

Crist says he is the last, best chance to stop DeSantis from seeking the White House in 2024, and he believes he can win over many Republican voters who are turned off by what he calls the governor’s "extreme, undemocratic agenda."

Crist will campaign hard on reproductive rights, and also says he will call out the governor's efforts to restrict voting, as well as his "parental rights in education" push that critics dubbed “Don’t Say Gay," and he will try to cast DeSantis as an existential threat to democracy itself.

DeSantis’ campaign declined to join the conversation or provide a statement.

Guest: Charlie Crist, Democratic nominee for Florida governor.

Abortion in Florida

On Thursday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told CBS News Miami that he opposes abortion in all cases — including rape and incest.

Rubio’s opponent, Central Florida U.S. Rep. Val Demings, tweeted this response:

“Marco Rubio is obsessed with taking away our freedoms. Losing the right to choose means women’s lives are at risk, doctors could be thrown in jail, and victims of rape and incest are forced to carry the seed of their rapist. We will #RetireRubio and protect the right to choose.”

Political strategist for the Lincoln Project Ryan Wiggins says that the end of Roe v. Wade will have a huge impact on Florida elections, as the state was traditionally a safe haven state for abortions in the Southeast.

Guest: Ryan Wiggins, political strategist, the Lincoln Project

New voting rules

Critics of new voting laws say they could make voting harder in Florida.

Guests:

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Florida Roundup Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.