The Florida Capitol, January 2021. Credit: Michael Moline
With just 10 weeks before the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial primary, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist formally filed qualifying paperwork, and also got an endorsement from State Sen. Annette Taddeo.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, also in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, recently released a campaign platform outlining 19 areas she plans to tackle if elected governor.
The two top Democratic candidates in the Aug. 23 primary are vying to run against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.
Crist, a former Republican governor, officially filed his paperwork to the Florida Division of Elections through Tallahassee’s first Black female mayor, Dorothy Inman-Johnson, who served for two terms in 1989 and 1993, according to a news release.
The qualifying deadlines are from June 13 to Jun 17 by noon.
Meanwhile, Sen. Taddeo, who was previously running for the Democratic candidate in the gubernatorial election but recently stepped down to run for U.S. Congress, endorsed Crist for the position.
“Make no mistake, Charlie is ready for the fight ahead. He is battle-tested and has a true vision to deliver change across Florida,” Taddeo said in a written statement Monday.
“Most importantly, he is our strongest candidate to defeat Ron DeSantis. We must unite behind Charlie and fight alongside him to win for Florida this November,” she continued.
Crist has been dropping elements of his priorities and gubernatorial plans as he’s traveled around the state. In October, he announced plans to legalize recreational marijuana and expunge existing criminal charges for marijuana possession. Recently, he promised to issue an executive order to protect abortion access for Floridians.
Fried’s platform goes over 19 policy areas, spanning from legalizing marijuana, ensuring state Medicaid programs covers transgender health and expanding voting opportunities to revert restrictions placed by the Legislature and the DeSantis administration.
There are eight policy areas under Fried’s “Lowering costs” theme: Housing affordability, addressing homeowner’s insurance, energy and infrastructure, expanding Medicaid, addressing food insecurity in schools and across the state, setting up a workforce corps to serve as a pathway to employment, legalizing marijuana and encouraging a justice system that helps incarcerated people reenter society, and expanding public transportation options.
As for her “raising standards” theme, those eleven policy areas are: boosting Florida’s economy through supporting small businesses, protecting Florida’s environment and waterways, promoting public safety through community policing and some gun regulations, countering domestic terrorism in the state, expanding voluntary Pre-K, protecting civil rights including support for LGBTQ+ populations in schools, work to repeal Florida’s new 15-week abortion ban, supporting Florida’s veterans including working to end homelessness among vets, and increasing government transparency.
Crist has had a campaign issues webpage up for some time prior and there are some similarities between their priorities, such as legalizing marijuana and restoring the Everglades. Though, on the Everglades front, his campaign website says there will be a more specific plan on the restoration of the Everglades “soon.”
Fried’s platform does address some gun control, planning to close the “gun show loophole” and banning so-called “ghost guns.” Ghost guns, according to a White House press release from April, are “unserialized, privately-made firearms.”
Crist also wants to crack down on ghost guns and supports universal background checks as well as banning assault rifles and large magazines, according to the Crist website. Fried’s policy outline does not call for banning assault rifles or large magazines.
Crist also says he supports abortion access and reproductive healthcare, previously promising to enact an executive order to protect Floridians’ access to abortion on Day 1 of being governor, should he be elected.
However, Fried frequently questions Crist’s stance on abortion, as he was a registered Republican when he was governor of Florida in 2007 to 2011, and constantly promotes herself as the stronger abortion rights candidate.
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