“Those who support the governor should stay with him and vote for him,” Crist said on Aug. 24 at his first press conference after winning the gubernatorial primary.
“And I don’t want your vote!” Crist added, forcefully emphasizing every word. “If you have that hate in your heart, keep it there. I want the vote of the people of Florida who care about our state.”
DeSantis appeared on the evening Fox News show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, to respond.
“He doesn’t want your vote. You’re morally beneath him. I’ve never seen a politician say that,” host Tucker Carlson chuckled to DeSantis, who appeared by video call.
“This is his fifth decade running for office,” DeSantis said of Crist. “He’s a chameleon, typical career politician.
“People support me because I kept the state open and protected their jobs. Charlie Crist wanted it locked down. So that’s not hate in their heart. They’re just appreciative that they had a governor who was standing up for them.”
Analysts have predicted Crist’s long history in Florida politics could be a liability for him. He served as a Republican governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011, but walked away from the chance at a second term. Instead, he ran for the U.S. Senate.
During that campaign, he switched his affiliation to Independent, when it appeared Marco Rubio was leading for the Republican nomination. Rubio won the seat in the general election.
Two years later, Crist changed party affiliation again. As a Democrat, he challenged the state’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who was running for reelection. Crist lost then, too.
Scott is now a U.S. Senator representing Florida, and Crist represents the St. Petersburg area in the U.S. House of Representatives.
By Nanette Holt