Rep. Charlie Crist Resigns From Congress To Focus On Florida Gubernatorial Race

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic Florida Rep. Charlie Crist will resign from Congress to focus on his gubernatorial campaign, he said Wednesday.

Crist, a former Republican who served as the state’s governor from 2007-11, won his Aug. 23 primary with nearly 60% support. He has served in Congress for three terms, representing Florida’s 13th District. The seat will remain vacant from the end of Wednesday until the November midterms, when it will likely flip to the GOP.

“These achievements start and end with you, the people — my bosses — who have guided my work in Congress since Day One,” Crist told the Tampa Bay Times of his time in Congress, adding that his service was “an honor and a privilege.” His campaign did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for further comment.

“I sincerely thank every person who has helped me serve my neighbors since I was first sworn-in in January 2017, including community leaders, local elected officials, my colleagues in the Florida Delegation, fellow Members of my Committees, Majority Whip Clyburn, Majority Leader Hoyer, and you, Madam Speaker,” Crist wrote in his official resignation letter.

Democrats will hold a three seat majority in the lower chamber following Crist’s resignation. The House has yet to seat New York Reps. Pat Ryan, a Democrat, and Joseph Sempolinski, a Republican, both of whom won Aug. 23 special elections. Crist is the tenth House member to resign during the 117th Congress, and the sixth Democrat. (RELATED: Rep. Filemon Vela To Leave Congress Early For Law Firm Job)

Crist has repeatedly claimed that his November opponent, incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, is a threat to democracy, and has defended President Joe Biden’s assertion that Republicans are in favor of “semi-fascism.” He told a crowd of supporters that he does not want DeSantis supporters to cross the aisle and vote for him, asserting that they have “hate in [their] hearts.”

Crist picked teachers union president Karla Hernandez-Mats as his running mate. Hernandez-Mats was a leading advocate of school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and accused then-President Donald Trump of playing politics with teachers’ lives.