Charles Joseph "Charlie" Crist Jr. (pronounced /ˈkrɪst/; born July 24, 1956) is an American politician who was the 44th Governor of Florida. Prior to his election as governor, Crist previously served as Florida State Senator, Education Commissioner, and Attorney General. He was elected governor in 2006 with 52.4 percent of the vote (against opponent Jim Davis), and took office the following year.
Crist's term as governor ended in January 2011. Crist announced on May 12, 2009 that he would run instead for the United States Senate seat being vacated by then-fellow Republican Mel Martinez. He later decided to run as an independent in the general election, but lost to Republican Marco Rubio in the general election.
Crist was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania on July 24, 1956, to Charles Joseph Crist, Sr., an American physician of Greek Cypriot descent, and Nancy (née Lee), of Scots-Irish American descent. His family name is adapted from the original Greek name "Christodoulou". Crist moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, as a child, where he attended Riviera Middle School and graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1974. He is the second of four children and has three sisters: Margaret Crist Wood, Elizabeth Crist Hyden, and Catherine Crist Kennedy. He attended Wake Forest University for two years, where he played quarterback for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons football team. Crist earned his undergraduate degree from Florida State University where he was elected Vice President of the student body and became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He received his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law in Alabama.