Charlie Crist poised to announce his candidacy for Congress

in 2017/Top Headlines by

When Charlie Crist announces later today in Childs Park that he is running for Congress in Florida’s 13th Congressional District in 2016, it will be his third major speech given in a St. Petersburg park declaring his candidacy for public office in the last five and half years.

However, his prospects are much sunnier than his last two attempts to win public office.

In late April of 2010, Crist spoke to about 500 supporters in Straub Park, where he declared that he would run as an independent in the U.S. Senate race against Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek, after Rubio had superseded him in the polls in the GOP race.

It did not go well, with Rubio thrashing Crist by 19 percentage points that November.

After becoming an advocate for President Obama’s re-election and earning a speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention in September of 2012, Crist officially became a Democrat that December while making an appearance at a White House Christmas Party. And on the first Monday of November in 2013, Crist announced in a St. Petersburg park that he would attempt to win back the seat that he left in 2010 and would challenge Rick Scott as the Democratic nominee for governor.

That too, did not go according to plan, as Scott defeated Crist by just a little more than a single percentage point, 48.2 to 47 percent, last November.

There were some who said then that his political career was over. Crist himself was non-committal, though rumors percolated that he was eyeing another run for governor in 2018.

Flash forward to this past July 9, when the Florida Supreme Court rejected political maps drawn up by GOP state legislators in 2012 as being unconstitutional, with the new maps for CD 13 likely to become more Democratic leaning.

Immediately afterward Crist said that, based upon the final drawing of the map, he was interested in running for the seat. The new maps approved by Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis just needs a final seal of approval from the Florida Supreme Court to become law, but Crist has now decided that he’s ready to jump into the race.

He is not running unopposed, although he will be a heavy favorite.

Eric Lynn, 37, a former Defense Department official with the Obama administration, is the only obstacle in his way, though one poll showed that Crist might have a difficult time if former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker were to become the Republican nominee.

That will be known in the coming days and weeks. Tuesday it will be all about Charlie Crist — once again.

For a man who wanted to be John McCain’s running mate in 2008, it isn’t the same thing – but it is Washington politics.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.