(NewsNation) — Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will try to reclaim his old job for a second time in November and oust a rising Republican star in incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Crist, who has switched parties since his departure from Tallahassee in 2011, won his Democratic primary Tuesday against Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, according to the results by Decision Desk HQ. The former Republican pitched himself as a moderate, while Fried tried to appeal to voters with “something new.”
This will be Crist’s second attempt to reclaim the governorship. He was defeated by Rick Scott in the 2014 election, losing by 1 percentage point.
“Tonight, the people of Florida clearly sent a message. They want a governor who cares about them to solve real problems, who preserves our freedom; not a bully who divides us and takes our freedom away,” Crist said in his victory speech.
Calling the general election “the most consequential” in Florida history, Crist said DeSantis is “dangerous” and a “bully.”
“He imitates the worst authoritarian leaders on the globe,” he said. “We can put a stop to this wannabe dictator.”
DeSantis, who is considered a potential candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, cast the November election as a referendum on President Joe Biden and “woke” ideology.
“Florida is the state where woke goes to die,” he said. “We are fighting for the soul of this country.”
Also in Florida, Rep. Val Demings won her Democratic Senate primary and will face incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio in November. Demings, a former Orlando police chief, has sought to counter attacks that she is soft on crime by pointing to her career in law enforcement.
Elsewhere, in a major matchup in New York, Rep. Jerry Nadler won the Democratic primary in the 12th Congressional District against Rep. Carolyn Maloney. The longtime representatives, who each chair powerful House committees, were forced to run against each other following a redistricting process that left New York with one fewer House seat.
Another notable Democratic congressional primary in New York was in the 10th District, where Dan Goldman was seeking to win office for the first time. Goldman was lead counsel during the first impeachment inquiry of former President Donald Trump.
In Oklahoma, Rep. Markwayne Mullin was projected to defeat T.W. Shannon is a runoff in a special primary to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. James Inhofe, who is retiring in January.