Charles Joseph Crist Jr. (; born July 24, 1956) is an American politician and lawyer who has been the U.S. Representative from Florida’s 13th congressional district since 2017. He served as the 44th governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011.
Crist began his political career as a Republican, serving in the Florida Senate from 1993 to 1999, running unsuccessfully against incumbent Bob Graham for the U.S. Senate in 1998 and then serving as Florida Education Commissioner from 2001 to 2003 and Florida Attorney General from 2003 to 2007, before being elected governor in 2006.
Crist decided not to run for reelection as governor in 2010, announcing on May 12, 2009 that he was running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Senator Mel Martinez. After initially leading in the race for the Republican nomination, he was overtaken in the polls by Marco Rubio, and in April 2010 Crist left the Republican Party and ran as an independent. In the general election he lost to Rubio in a three-way race, taking 30% of the vote to Rubio’s 49% and Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek’s 20%. Crist’s term as governor ended in January 2011.
On December 7, 2012, Crist joined the Democratic Party, having endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection in 2012. On November 1, 2013, he announced that he was running for governor in the 2014 election. He was defeated by incumbent Governor Rick Scott, Crist’s successor, by a 1% margin. In 2016, Crist was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Florida’s 13th congressional district, defeating incumbent David Jolly, 52%-48%.