Attempting yet another political comeback, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is the early front-runner to win the Democrat primary in the race for the House seat being vacated by GOP Rep. David Jolly.
Jolly decided to run for the Senate seat being made available by Marco Rubio in part because his House district was redrawn to give Democrats "a 15 percent advantage in registered voters," the Tampa Tribune reports.
The changes allowed Crist to run for the seat without even having to move, as his personal address was absorbed into the district.
The 56-year-old Crist, who "served in the Florida Senate, as state education commissioner, state attorney general and finally as governor" all as a Republican, is running against Eric Lynn, 37, in the Democrat primary, the Tribune reports.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps reserve brigadier general Mark Bircher is the sole Republican to announce for the seat in the now Democrat-friendly district.
With his name recognition, Crist immediately became the early prohibitive favorite to capture the Democrat primary, but analysts note the struggling presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the rise of outsiders Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders on the national scene as a sign that 2016 may not be a good year for veteran politicians.
The Tribune also notes that "Crist lost each of his last two campaigns — to Rubio for U.S. Senate in 2010 and to Rick Scott for governor in 2014 — in which he started out as a heavy favorite and faded badly."
"I think this campaign is ripe with the possibility of an upset," Darryl Paulson, a government professor at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, told the Tribune.
The former Republican governor has started his campaign on a strongly liberal note, Florida political website SaintPetersBlog reports,
sending a fundraising letter to potential campaign donors that said this about Republican Bircher:
"[H]ere's the deal. Mark Bircher is about as Tea Party as it gets. He wants Medicare, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act repealed.
"You read that right.
"Medicare. Social Security. And the Affordable Care Act. Repealed.
The letter closed with a pithy appeal for contributions:
"How do you want to welcome him to the race? How about a contribution, of any amount, to the right side of history?"
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