TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 2020 election has only been in the rearview mirror for three months, but the political focus is already turning to who will run for Florida governor in 2022.
An inner-party survey is already asking Democrats who they favor to take on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The survey was sent to Florida Democrats via email last week. It highlights 10 potential challengers to DeSantis. Most are fresh, little know faces. Charlie Crist, who was a Republican governor and then ran again as a Democrat in 2014, is also on the list.
“Well, I’ve been urged for running for governor, and I am considering it,” Crist said.
“Sure, Crist is well known, but things have changed,” said retired University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus.
MacManus said the party is different now.
“It’s much more dominated by women than ever, particularly women of color,” MacManus said.
Daniel Uhlfelder may have launched the first digital effort of the 2022 campaign. Uhlfelder, who has drawn attention by making appearances dressed as the Grim Reaper, has been pushing back against DeSantis’ COVID-19 policies since March.
DeSantis starts from a strong position. He has $9 million in his political action committee and more coming in every day.
Republican Party of Florida Executive Director Helen Aguirre Ferré said DeSantis is ready.
“Florida continues to lead the nation in COVID response policies,” Ferré said.
Despite former President Donald Trump winning Florida handily in the 2020 presidential election with DeSantis’ help, MacManus argues Florida is still a swing state.
“It’s just that Democrats did not run a very good campaign in the presidential contest,” MacManus said.
So far, none of the 10 Democrats on the list or any other credible Democrat has filed paperwork to get into the race.
Money raising has to start soon for anyone who is serious.