Florida this year will witness something it hasn’t seen for nearly a quarter-century: a Charlie Crist re-election campaign.
U.S. Rep. Crist, D-St. Petersburg, has already raised more than $2.6 million in pursuit of a second term in Congress — but this is the week it becomes official. Florida’s window for U.S. Senate, U.S. House and judicial candidates to submit paperwork and pay filing fees to secure spots on the 2018 ballot opens at noon today and closes at noon Friday. The ballot qualifying period for state and local offices is June 18-22.
Crist has been a presence in Florida politics since the early 1990s as a Republican, an independent and a Democrat. He just hasn’t stayed in a single job for very long. The last time Crist ran for re-election was 1994, when he was a Republican state senator and successfully sought a second term.
In 1998, Crist was the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate but lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Graham.
In 2000, Crist was elected state education commissioner. He couldn’t run for re-election, however, because voters had approved a constitutional amendment making it an appointed post beginning in 2003.
In 2002, Crist was elected Florida attorney general.
Rather than seek re-election in 2006, Crist — still a Republican — ran for governor and won.
Rather than seek re-election as governor, Crist in 2009 launched a 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate as the slam-dunk favorite for the Republican nomination. By early 2010, however, he had fallen behind Marco Rubio in GOP polls. Crist left the Republican Party to pursue an independent bid for Senate, losing to Rubio in the general election.
Crist was still an independent in 2012 when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in favor of President Barack Obama‘s re-election. He changed his registration to Democrat at the end of that year and ran for governor in 2014 as a Democrat, but lost his bid to deny Republican Gov. Rick Scott a second term.
In 2016, Crist ran for U.S. House and won. And now — unless he’s got some shocking last-minute maneuver up his sleeve — he’s poised to run for re-election.