Fox News Decision Desk projects GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis will defeat Charlie Crist to secure another term as the Sunshine State’s chief executive.
DeSantis, a former three-term congressman who was narrowly elected governor in 2018, has seen his popularity soar among conservatives in Florida and across the country the past two and a half years, courtesy of his forceful pushback against coronavirus pandemic restrictions and his aggressive actions as a culture wars warrior.
DeSantis grabbed more national attention and sparked new controversy in recent months by flying migrants from Texas to the progressive bastion of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts this summer, spotlighting his tough stance on the issue of illegal immigration.
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While DeSantis has repeatedly deflected talk of a potential 2024 White House run, his re-election will further fuel buzz by political pundits that the conservative governor is gearing up for a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Crist, a Republican state senator during the 1990’s who later served as Florida Education Commissioner and then Attorney General before being elected governor in 2006, decided in 2010 to run for an open Senate seat rather than re-election.
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But politically wounded by his support of then-President Obama’s stimulus package and his hugging of the president during a trip to Florida, Crist dropped out of the GOP primary and ran as an unaffiliated candidate, coming in second to now-Sen. Marco Rubio.
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After becoming a Democrat, Crist unsuccessfully ran for his old job as governor in 2014, narrowly losing to GOP incumbent Gov. Rick Scott. But he was elected to the House in 2016, winning congressional re-election twice.