Charlie Crist to make first gubernatorial campaign stop in West Palm Beach

Antonio Fins
Palm Beach Post
JUPITER. Gov. Charlie Crist speaks to reporters briefly after speaking to the State Board of Education and Board of Governors joint meeting at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter Thursday afternoon.

Congressman Charlie Crist will make his first gubernatorial campaign stop in Palm Beach County this week.

The Tampa Bay area Democrat will include a West Palm Beach appearance as part of a seven-city Voting Rights Tour that will include Miami, Orlando and Tallahassee.

During the events, Crist, a former Republican governor of Florida, will "host roundtable discussions with everyday Floridians affected by voter suppression and the community leaders working to expand the right to vote," a statement by his campaign said.

More:Charlie Crist announces his third campaign for governor of Florida, second as a Democrat

Details on the West Palm Beach stop were not available on Monday.

Crist, who launched his gubernatorial campaign last month, has been making voting rights a key theme. It's an important issue, particularly for Black voters, a key Democratic constituency.

The issue is on the forefront this spring because of what critics say are voter suppression laws that have been passed this year in states, including Florida, to disadvantage Democratic voters and candidates in next year's elections.

Crist's rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination is Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried, who filed paperwork to run last week. The Democratic nominee will face off against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and listening to the voices of the people is the first job of any public servant,” Crist said in a statement. “Governor DeSantis wants to divide Floridians and suppress the votes of people he doesn’t agree with. I believe to my core that’s wrong. I’m running for governor to build a Florida for all Floridians, and that starts with actually listening to Floridians and fighting to protect everyone’s right to vote.”

Crist served as Florida governor from 2007 to 2011. He chose to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, but dropped out of the Republican race to run as an independent when it was clear Marco Rubio would win the GOP nomination.

Crist challenged then-incumbent Gov. Rick Scott in 2014 after joining the Democratic Party, but narrowly lost. He won a congressional seat in 2016.