Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leads all of his Democratic challengers in several recent polls, including top Democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who bashed DeSantis voters on Sunday night.
DeSantis, a Republican, is up for re-election this year.
According to the polls, DeSantis leads his top three Democratic gubernatorial candidates Crist, Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, and state Sen. Annette Taddeo by large margins.
RealClearPolitics average of polls has DeSantis leading Crist by 8.8 percentage points. Broken down individually, the polls show DeSantis leading Crist by between 3 and 21 points.
DeSantis is ahead, according to Mason-Dixon, by 8 points. By a University of North Florida poll, he leads by 21 points. The lead is 6 points in USA Today/Suffolk poll. It’s also 6 points in a St. Pete poll; and by 3 points in a Susquehanna poll.
Speaking Sunday night at a Manatee County Democratic Party Gala in Lakewood Ranch, Crist said, “While Ron DeSantis is trying to score political points with the red meat, hard right, toothless crowd, his actions have consequences on Florida families.”
Fried and Taddeo criticized DeSantis in their remarks but didn’t criticize voters.
Many have likened Crist’s remarks to those made by Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who in 2016 called Trump supporters a range of names. At a campaign fundraiser in New York, she said, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it.”
Critics compared the comments to Clinton’s.
“The once kind, gentle, and all-inclusive former Republican Governor of Florida, Rep. Charlie Crist, just pulled a page out of former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s divisive playbook,” Javier Manjarres at The Floridian argues.
Crist served as a Republican in various elected roles in Florida from 1992 to 2010. He was the first Republican to be elected attorney general in Florida history.
He was elected as Florida’s 44th governor as a Republican in 2006. In 2010, he left the Republican Party to become an Independent, and became a Democrat in 2012.
Crist ran a second time for governor as a Democrat in 2014 and lost. In 2016, he ran for Congress as a Democrat and won, serving for nearly four years until he declared he was running for governor for a third time.
He’s the only candidate in state history to run for governor as both a Republican and a Democrat.
According to Transparency USA, DeSantis has raised $87 million in campaign contributions. That’s compared to Crist’s $7.1 million and Fried’s $1.6 million.
This article was originally posted on DeSantis leads Crist in Florida polling