With the Democratic nomination for Governor secure, Charlie Crist launched a first General Election ad for 2022.
In a nearly two-minute video, Crist lays out his agenda for Florida in stark contrast to that of incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Florida, we deserve better,” Crist says. “Somebody who actually wants this job.”
Crist’s campaign announced the video would send a message “hitting DeSantis on his attacks against women, against the LGBTQ+ community, against minority representation, and against the state’s largest corporation, Disney.”
The advertisement hits a number of divisive moments from DeSantis’ term as Governor, which the Crist team characterizes as “four years of constant attacks and culture wars.” A lowlight reel includes footage of DeSantis shouting at press for “spreading false narratives.”
“I’m standing in your way,” DeSantis says in one clip.
While DeSantis has leaned heavily on criticisms on media and progressive politics, recently saying Florida is where “woke comes to die,” Crist asserts that combativeness isn’t the leadership Florida needs representing the state.
The ad includes an exchange on the Morning Joe show where former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough asks about DeSantis, “who raised him?” That clip is shown right after footage of DeSantis infamously chastising teenagers at a press event for wearing masks.
Co-host Willie Geist makes a comparison to former President Donald Trump. “There’s a strange phenomenon that’s happened in the age of Trump which is that displays like that are somehow viewed as strength,” Geist said.
Crist in the ad says his candidacy represents a different direction.
“I’ve spent my whole life fighting for the people of Florida,” says Crist, who served a term as a Republican Governor from 2006 to 2010 before being elected as a Democratic Congressman in 2016.
The ad shows Crist graduating from St. Petersburg High School, and shares footage of the last time he was sworn in as Governor, perhaps encouraging viewers to imagine such a scene again.
“As Governor, I was proud of what we accomplished,” Crist said. “But now, Ron DeSantis is attacking Florida. He says he’s all about freedom, but only if you do as he says.”
He then lays into controversial steps DeSantis has taken like signing a ban on abortions 15 weeks into a presidency and forcing the Legislature to approve a congressional map that could cut the number of Florida Congressman elected by Black constituencies in half.
The video also includes footage of protestors standing against a parental rights law branded the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics.
“For him, politics is all about power, resentment,” Crist says of DeSantis. “He wins. You lose.”
It also shows Crist bringing that message to a crowd of voters, where the Democrat draws applause asking “what is the matter with that guy.”
“I’m running for Florida to stop him and build a Florida that works for everyone,” Crist says
Testimonials show supporters’ faith in the message as Crist lists issues including affordable housing that he will prioritize if elected.
“We can do this together,” he said. “We can stand up to the hate, and with your help, we will win in November.”