With U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., launching a bid for the U.S. Senate on Monday, former Gov. Charlie Crist said he will run for the open House seat if the chips fall his way after redistricting. The Florida Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that several of the current congressional districts, including Jolly’s, violated state constitutional amendments approved by voters back in 2010.
Crist had been rumored to be looking at running for the seat, which includes much of his Pinellas County base. On Monday, Crist confirmed he's "in" if his house is included in Jolly’s district after redistricting.
"If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again,” Crist posted on social media on Monday.
Crist first sought federal office in 1998 as a Republican, coming up short in his bid against U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla. But he rebounded two years later, winning statewide office as education commissioner and, two years after that he was elected attorney general. In 2006, Crist defeated U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, D-Fla., to become the 44th governor of the Sunshine State.
But Crist presided over an economic downturn. Supporting President Barack Obama’s federal stimulus, Crist lost the support of conservatives as he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010, getting caught in the Republican primary by Marco Rubio. Crist ditched the GOP to continue his run with no party affiliation but came in a distant second behind Rubio in the general election.
After endorsing Obama for a second term, he joined the Democrats and ran for governor. Last year, Crist came up short against Republican Gov. Rick Scott who was elected to a second term.
If things go Crist’s way during redistricting, he should not expect an open shot at the Democratic nomination. Eric Lynn, who worked in the Obama administration, has been running against Jolly and has said he will not get out of the race even if Crist opposes him. Several other candidates are also looking at entering the race.
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