ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Charlie Crist, former Republican governor of Florida, announced his candidacy Tuesday, as a Democrat, for a Florida congressional seat.
He spoke to supporters in St. Petersburg Tuesday as he began his campaign to win Florida's 13th Congressional District seat.
"Public service is in my heart. I can't help it. I guess that's fairly obvious," Crist said.
Crist, 59, was Florida governor as a Republican from 2007 to 2011 and regarded as a rising star in the party. Attempting to win the party's senatorial nomination in 2010 instead of a second term as governor, he lost to Marco Rubio, then ran unsuccessfully as an independent. As a Democrat, Crist ran again for governor in 2014 and lost to Rick Scott.
Crist's legislative district, redrawn in July, is now heavily Democratic and African-American, and some consider it to be a place a Republican candidate could not win; incumbent Republican Rep. David Jolly chose to run for the Senate to replace Rubio, who is currently seeking the GOP presidential nomination.
Jolly, dismissive of Crist's candidacy, commented, "I have served with a lot of bad members of Congress. Charlie would be the worst."
Crist will face opposition in the Democratic primary from Eric Lynn, a former Pentagon official. Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker is considering running for the Congressional seat as a Republican.