The Phoenix Flyer

Election Day news conference: Charlie Crist says Florida’s ‘going to wake up today’

By: - November 8, 2022 1:12 pm

Charlie Crist spoke with reporters outside the Lake Vista Rec Center in St. Petersburg Nov. 8 (photo by Mitch Perry)

Charlie Crist says that despite the polls and early voting results that favor Republicans going into Tuesday’s midterm election, he remains optimistic that Florida’s electorate will make a statement tonight by rejecting incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis’s bid for a second term.

“Florida maybe has been a little bit asleep, but I’ll tell you what – she’s going to wake up today,” the Democratic gubernatorial candidate said as a group of supporters stood behind him and cheered at a press conference held in front of a polling location in South St. Petersburg this morning. (Crist had already voted earlier last week.)

In addition to early voting and vote-by mail totals that had more Republicans voting than Democrats going into Election Day, results from some Democratic-leaning counties after the polls opened this morning show that the GOP could potentially have a huge day.

For example, in Hillsborough County, which went for Joe Biden by 6 points over Donald Trump in 2020 and Hillary Clinton by 6 points over Trump in 2016, information posted on the Hillsborough County supervisor of elections website showed that Republicans had taken the lead over Democrats by more than 8,000 votes this morning.

Crist was not acknowledging any of those trends this morning. When asked what he made of the early voting in Miami Dade County, a traditional Democratic-leaning county where Republicans have overtaken Democrats in the early vote, Crist simply replied, “people are voting.”

“They’re voting like their life depends on it,” he said. “Like a woman’s right to choose depends on it. Yeah, that’s what’s going on in Miami-Dade today and I can’t wait to see the results tonight.”

In addition to abortion rights, Crist mentioned other issues that he’s invoked against DeSantis during the campaign, mentioning escalating property insurance rates and utility bills and the fact that DeSantis has refused to commit to serving another full four-year term.

Crist, a former Republican governor, Attorney General and Education Commissioner, officially became a Democrat in 2012. In 2014, he ran for governor as a Democrat. Since then, he has been on the ballot every two years since then. When asked by the Phoenix what he made of the massive increase in registered Republicans over just the past few years in the state and what that said about Florida politically, he declined to offer an opinion.

“I’ll let you know after tonight,” he said. “We’ll have to let the jury deliberate tonight, and then we’ll know what the verdict is.”

The polls close at 7 p.m., but the state will not be releasing information about vote totals until after 8 p.m. Eastern time, because of voting in the Panhandle, which is in Central time. However, local supervisors of elections in Eastern time zones will begin posting totals in their counties sometime before 7:30 p.m.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.

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