The final pieces of the midterm puzzle are coming into focus as Tuesday primaries in New York, Florida and Oklahoma lock in key parts of the November election slate.
Democrats in Florida on Tuesday picked Rep. Charlie Crist to take on Gov. Ron DeSantis in the fall, CNN projected. Crist’s challenge comes as DeSantis seeks both a second term and a boost ahead of a rumored presidential bid in 2024. CNN also projected that Democratic Rep. Val Demings would take on Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in November.
Here are the some of the key takeaways so far:
Crist looks to derail DeSantis in the fall
For the second time in eight years, Democratic voters elected Crist as their nominee for governor, choosing the seasoned veteran over Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who was vying to become the state’s first female governor. Crist now has just 11 weeks to unite his party, energize the Democratic base and convince independent voters that the state needs a new direction.
The stakes for Democrats are high, and not just in Florida, where DeSantis has already pushed through an aggressively conservative agenda, vowing that a second term will bring new action to further restrict abortion and to make it easier to carry a gun in public. But national Democrats are also now looking for Crist to slow DeSantis’ rise before an anticipated campaign for the White House in 2024.
Florida’s latest contentious Senate race formally takes shape
The Senate race between Rubio and Demings is on.
Demings won her primary on Tuesday and Rubio was unopposed, setting up a race that Republicans believe they should easily win but one that offers Democrats yet another chance to show they can win statewide in a place that has crept right for years.
The two have been focused on each other for months — their primaries were not competitive — but on Tuesday night, the contours of the race were clear: Rubio plans to brand Demings a “Pelosi Puppet” who is inextricably linked to President Joe Biden, while Demings plans to attack Rubio as ineffective, selfish and wedded to a Republican Party dominated by Trump.