Charlie Crist

Charles Joseph Crist Jr. (/krɪst/; born July 24, 1956) is an American lawyer and politician who has served as the U.S. Representative from Florida's 13th congressional district since 2017. The district is based in St. Petersburg. He served as the 44th governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011.

Charlie Crist
Charlie Crist 115th Congress photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 13th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byDavid Jolly
44th Governor of Florida
In office
January 2, 2007 – January 4, 2011
LieutenantJeff Kottkamp
Preceded byJeb Bush
Succeeded byRick Scott
35th Florida Attorney General
In office
January 7, 2003 – January 2, 2007
GovernorJeb Bush
Preceded byRichard E. Doran
Succeeded byBill McCollum
21st Education Commissioner of Florida
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 7, 2003
GovernorJeb Bush
Preceded byTom Gallagher
Succeeded byJim Horne
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 20th district
In office
November 3, 1992 – November 3, 1998
Preceded byConstituency redistricted
Succeeded byJim Sebesta
Personal details
Charles Joseph Crist Jr.

(1956-07-24) July 24, 1956 (age 65)
Altoona, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (2012–present)
Other political
Republican (before 2010)
Independent (2010–2012)
Amanda Morrow
(m. 1979; div. 1980)

(m. 2008; div. 2017)
EducationFlorida State University (BA)
Samford University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

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.

While still governor, Crist ran for a U.S. Senate seat. After initially leading in the 2010 race for the Republican nomination, Crist was overtaken in the polls by Marco Rubio when the state GOP committee decided not to fund his reelection bid, and in April 2010 Crist left the Republican Party to run as an independent.[1] 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.[2] On November 1, 2013, he announced that he was running for governor in the 2014 election.[3] He was defeated by Governor Rick Scott, Crist's successor, by a 1% margin.[4][5] In 2016, Crist was elected to Congress from his home district, the 13th, defeating incumbent Republican David Jolly, 52%–48%[6] and became the first Democrat to represent this district since 1955. As of the 117th Congress, Crist is the only former governor serving in the House.

Crist is a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2022 Florida gubernatorial election.[7]

Early life and educationEdit

Crist was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania,[8] on July 24, 1956, to Charles Joseph Crist, an American physician of Greek Cypriot and Lebanese descent,[9] and Nancy (née Lee), of Scots-Irish, Swiss, and Welsh descent.[9][10] His family name is adapted from the original Greek name "Christodoulos".[11] As a child, Crist moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he attended Riviera Middle School and St. Petersburg High School, from which he graduated 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. While at Wake Forest, Crist was a walk-on quarterback for the Demon Deacons[12] during his freshman and sophomore years, before transferring to Florida State University in Tallahassee. Crist earned his undergraduate degree from Florida State, where he was elected vice president of the student body and became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He received his J.D. from Samford University Cumberland School of Law.[13][14]

Charlie Crist played quarterback for the Wake Forest football team during the 1974 and 1975 seasons.

Early careerEdit

After graduating from Cumberland School of Law in 1981, and passing the bar on his third attempt,[15] Crist was hired as general counsel to Minor League Baseball, which was headquartered in St. Petersburg. Drawn to politics, Crist was a candidate for public office for the first time in 1986, in the Republican primary for a state Senate seat in Pinellas County. After losing in a runoff, Crist joined his brother-in-law in private practice in St. Petersburg, but soon returned to politics as an aide on the successful 1988 United States Senate campaign of Connie Mack III, whom he has since described as his political mentor.[16]

Florida SenateEdit

In 1992, Crist was elected to a two-year term to the Florida Senate from the 20th district, which encompassed parts of St. Petersburg and South Tampa.[17] He defeated longtime incumbent Democratic State Senator Helen Gordon Davis of Tampa, 58.3 to 41.7%.[18][19] Crist was able to unseat Gordon Davis following the 1992 decennial redistricting process, which significantly reconfigured the districts in the Tampa Bay area.[18] His victory was credited with helping to end the Democratic Party's 128-year control of the Florida Senate, as the Republicans netted three seats in 1992, resulting in a 20–20 tie between the parties.[18]

Crist was known as a law-and-order senator, sponsoring legislation requiring inmates to serve at least 85% of their sentences before becoming eligible for parole.[8] He supported teacher salary increases, charter schools, and a specialty license plate for Everglades conservation.[17] With Crist as chairman, the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee investigated actions of then-governor Lawton Chiles amid allegations that Chiles's campaign had made "scare calls" to senior citizens days before the 1994 gubernatorial election. Chiles testified before the committee and admitted that his campaign had made the calls.[8][16]

In 1994, Crist was reelected to a four-year term in the Senate, defeating Democrat Dana Lynn Maley with 63.3% of the vote.[20]

Florida Education CommissionerEdit

Crist gained recognition in 1998 as the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Graham. He lost to Graham by 26 percentage points.[21] In 2000, he was elected Education Commissioner of Florida, a position he held until it became an appointive office in 2003, as the result of a 1998 constitutional amendment.[16] Crist left his position after he was elected attorney general.

Florida Attorney GeneralEdit

In 2002, Crist was elected Florida Attorney General. His candidacy was supported by the host of America's Most Wanted, John Walsh. Walsh and other supporters cited his work with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.[citation needed]

Civil rights and consumer groups praised Crist for expanding the attorney general's powers during his time in office. These powers enabled him and future attorneys general to have greater power to prosecute civil rights and fraud cases. Crist also worked to combat email spam, freeze utility rates, end telecom deception, and protect the environment.[8][dead link][22]

Governor of FloridaEdit

Crist's official portrait as Governor

Having won the 2006 election, Crist was inaugurated as governor of Florida on January 2, 2007.

Fiscal policiesEdit

Crist supported President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a stimulus package in response to the Great Recession.[23][24][25] Fellow Republicans were angered by Crist's support for the stimulus.[26]

Crist called the act a "godsend",[27] maintaining that it had saved the jobs of nearly 20,000 Florida schoolteachers and other school workers in 2009-2010.[28]

Gun policyEdit

In 2008, Crist signed a provision preventing employers from prohibiting employees from bringing firearms to the workplace, as long as the weapons are secure and the employees have a concealed carry license.[29][30]


Crist's stance on abortion has been unclear at times.[31] In 1995, while in the Florida Senate, Crist joined with two Democrats in the Senate Health Care Committee in voting against a proposal for a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before a woman could have an abortion, resulting in a 3–3 tie vote and the bill's defeat.[31] In 1998, while running for the U.S. Senate, Crist wrote in a Tampa Bay Times questionnaire that "I believe that a woman has the right to choose, but would prefer only after careful consideration and consultation with her family, her physician and her clergy; not her government."[31] In a debate that year, he said he did not support a constitutional amendment banning abortion.[31] In 2006, while running for governor, Crist said he did not support overturning Roe v. Wade and opposed a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before a woman could have an abortion.[31]

In 2010, while running for the U.S. Senate again, Crist said he would "fight for pro-life legislative efforts" and described himself as "pro-life".[32] By March 2010, however, as rumors swirled that he would leave the Republican Party and become an independent, Crist reiterated that he did not support overturning Roe v. Wade and told a Christian Family Coalition group, "We ought to, instead of change laws, change hearts."[33]

In June 2010, after leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent, Crist removed anti-abortion language from his website.[34] Shortly thereafter, he vetoed a bill to require women seeking abortions to pay for and receive an ultrasound, calling the measure "punitive" and "almost mean-spirited".[32][34] The bill also included language barring abortion coverage "under a contract toward which any tax credit or cost-sharing credit is applied."[35] Legislative Republicans and anti-abortion groups said his language was aimed at preventing "what they considered the possibility of federal funding being used for abortion in Florida",[34][35] while abortion rights groups said the broadly written provision would have resulted "in hundreds of thousands of women losing health care coverage that they currently have."[35] The bill Crist vetoed also included some provisions "intended to thwart" the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care reform legislation championed by President Obama.[34]

LGBT rightsEdit

In 2006, as a proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions was headed to the ballot in Florida, Crist said that such an amendment was unnecessary because state law already barred same-sex marriages.[36] But in September 2005, Crist had signed a petition for the amendment during the Republican primary at the Christian Coalition's request.[36][37] Crist said in campaign materials at the time that he supported "traditional marriage".[36] In 2008, Crist said he voted for the amendment, which passed.[36]

In a debate and a radio talk show appearance in 2006, Crist indicated support for civil unions.[37] In 2010, after becoming an independent during the U.S. Senate race, he declared his support for civil unions encompassing "the full range of legal protections" including "access to a loved one in the hospital, inheritance rights, the fundamental things people need to take care of their families."[37] It is unclear whether the 2008 state constitutional amendment Crist supported would have prohibited such civil unions.[37]

As governor Crist deemphasized the marriage issue, saying in a late 2007 CNN appearance, "It's not an issue that moves me. I'm just a live and let live kind of guy", and telling the Orlando Sentinel in 2008 that the issue was not "top-tier" for him.[36][37]

Crist initially supported Florida's ban on same-sex adoption, which had been in place since 1977.[38] He publicly expressed support for the ban from the time he was attorney general in 2006 to his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2010, even after some state legislators proposed dropping the ban in 2007. In 2008, in the case of In re Gill, a Miami-Dade judge struck down the ban as unconstitutional.[38] As the case proceeded through appeals, Crist expressed support for the ban as late as February 2010,[38] but by June 2010, expressed openness to changing Florida law to allow same-sex adoption, saying a better approach "would be to let judges make that decision on a case-by-case basis."[38][39]

In September 2010, Crist said that he had had an "appropriate evolution" on gay rights and was considering dropping the state's appeal of the court ruling striking down Florida's ban on gay adoption.[40] Days later, after an appeals court struck down the ban, Crist hailed the ruling "a very good day for Florida" and "a great day for children" and announced that the state would no longer seek to enforce the ban.[38] In a Senate candidates' debate the next month, he attributed his shift in positions to "the convergence of life experience and wisdom", saying that he had become more tolerant and become less judgmental with age.[38]

In January 2014, Crist apologized for his support for the 2008 same-sex marriage ban and for the same-sex adoption ban, telling an Orlando LGBT publication, "I'm sorry I did that. It was a mistake. I was wrong. Please forgive me."[41][42][43]

Environmental policyEdit

In June 2008 Crist proposed that Florida buy 187,000 acres (76,000 ha) from the United States Sugar Corporation for $1.2 billion. The purchase would remove about 187,000 acres of sugar farming for restoration efforts. In front of supporters in Palm Beach County, Crist called the deal "as monumental as our nation's first national park."[44] Economic changes forced the purchase to be reduced to 73,000 acres (30,000 ha) of sugar and citrus plantations for Everglades restoration projects.[45][46][47][48]

Crist announced plans to sign executive orders to impose strict air pollution standards in Florida, with an aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.[49] In his gubernatorial campaign Crist opposed offshore oil drilling. He altered that position in June 2008, when oil reached peak prices, saying, "I mean, let's face it, the price of gas has gone through the roof, and Florida families are suffering, and my heart bleeds for them."[50]

Other issuesEdit

As governor, Crist supported capital punishment.[51]

After claims that computerized voting machines undercounted votes in black communities, Crist endorsed legislation requiring paper records of all ballots cast in elections.[citation needed]

In April 2010, Crist vetoed an education bill that would have linked teacher pay to test scores, a piece of legislation conservatives strongly supported.[52]

Crist supported increased regulation of the insurance industry, including property insurance rates (in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina) and health insurance. The Citizen's Property Insurance Corp and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund had been described as risky and underfunded. Standing next to former football star Dan Marino (whose son, Michael, is autistic and inspired the Dan Marino Foundation[53]), Crist signed a law expanding health coverage statewide for autism disorders and legislation expanding low-income coverage and creating public and private insurance options in Florida.[54][55][56][57][58][59]

Fundraising controversiesEdit

In February 2006, Crist attended a fundraiser at Mar-A-Lago, hosted by Donald Trump, with guests paying $500 to attend. Two of the guests became subjects of controversy.[60] One, Volodymyr Shcherban, was a Ukrainian government official who had recently fled his country after being charged with corruption.[61][62] The other, Russell Whitney, was a businessman from Cape Coral, Florida, who at the time was under investigation by Crist's office (and two of whose businesses had previously made the maximum allowable $500 contribution to Crist's campaign).[63] Crist subsequently returned $1,000 to Whitney's businesses, and determined that Shcherban's entry fee had been paid by another guest.[64]

In 2009, Crist saw the man he had chosen as Florida GOP finance chairman, his former fraternity brother, oil magnate Harry Sargeant III, forced to step down.[65] One of Sargeant's employees, Ala'a al-Ali of the Dominican Republic, was indicted in Los Angeles for organizing $5,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Crist, as well as $50,000 to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.[66]

Role in the 2008 presidential electionEdit

Crist in Brazil, 2007

Senator John McCain endorsed Crist's 2006 campaign for governor, traveling the state to campaign with him. The day before the general election, Crist held a campaign event with McCain in Jacksonville. Later, when the Republican presidential primary debates were held in St. Petersburg, Crist embraced McCain. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had also campaigned for Crist during the gubernatorial election, had sought his endorsement.[67][68][69][70]

In May 2007, Crist signed a bill moving the date of Florida's presidential primary to January 29, 2008, contrary to national political party rules.[71] Crist joined Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm in asking that their states' delegates be seated. Both national conventions ended up seating all delegates, but with only a half vote each for the sanctioned states.[72][73][74][75]

On January 26, 2008, Crist endorsed McCain in the Republican primary.[76] McCain won the Florida primary by five percentage points.[77]

On October 28, 2008, Crist extended early voting hours of operation and declared that a "state of emergency exists", due to record voter turnout and resultant hours-long waits at locations throughout the state.[78][79]

On November 12–14, 2008, Crist hosted the Republican Governors Association (RGA) annual meeting in Miami. Held the week after the Democratic Party victories in the 2008 election,[80] there was speculation about the meeting's tone. Then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the defeated 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, was a featured participant and speaker.

Crist's speech at the RGA conference, "Listen to the Voters and Serve", included his sentiments on how the GOP should evolve:

This party can no longer hope to reach Hispanics, African Americans and other minority groups – we need to just do it. Embracing cultures and lifestyles will make us a better party and better leaders. This desire for inclusiveness is near and dear to my heart ... Last week, the American people made a choice and this week, if we choose to call ourselves leaders, if we truly endeavor to serve with a servant's heart for the people who count on us, then we too must work together, listen to one another and learn from the leaders who made the kind of history the American people deserve.[81]

Crist held a joint interview with Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina in which they discussed the split in the Republican Party over where to direct the party's efforts to gain more voters.[82]

2010 U.S. Senate campaignEdit

On May 12, 2009, Crist announced that he would not run for reelection as governor in 2010, making him the first Florida governor not to run for reelection since 1964.[83] Instead he ran for the US Senate. His two main opponents were former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio,[84][85] and Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek.[86]

Crist was initially the front-runner in the Republican primary, but later trailed Rubio in polls.[87][88]

Crist announced his intent to run as an unaffiliated candidate in the election, while at the same time, according to a press release from his campaign, he remained a registered Republican.[89] Crist officially changed his registration status to "non party affiliated" on May 13, 2010. He did not return campaign contributions made while he was a Republican.[90][91] Crist lost the general election, receiving 29.7% of the vote to Rubio's 48.9% and Meek's 20.2%.[92]

In April 2011, as part of a settlement of a copyright lawsuit brought by musician David Byrne, Crist apologized for his Senate campaign's use of Byrne's song "Road to Nowhere" without permission.[93][94]

By the spring of 2015, there was speculation that Crist would seek the Democratic nomination for the 2016 United States Senate election in Florida. This would have been his third run for the seat (he lost in 1998 and 2010). In March 2015, Crist said he would not seek the nomination. That same month, he endorsed U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy's Senate candidacy.

Break from politics (2011–2014)Edit

In January 2011, Crist joined the Tampa office of national personal injury law firm Morgan & Morgan after expressing an interest in returning to the legal field during his final week in office as governor of Florida. Crist worked primarily in the firm's class-action sector as a complex-litigation attorney, serving as a "rainmaker" for the firm.[95] In November 2016, after almost six years with the firm, he was elected to represent Florida's 13th congressional district.[96] In February 2018, Brad Slager of Sunshine State News, cited evidence that Morgan & Morgan was "attempting to purge all evidence" of its relationship with Crist now that he was a "rookie congressman" with "little-to-no power".[97]

In 2013, Crist performed paid consulting work for Coastal Construction, a Miami-based construction firm owned by Crist's longtime friend Tom Murphy, the father of former U.S. Representative Patrick Murphy.[95]

Crist has been a part-time guest lecturer at Stetson University College of Law,[98] with the title of Distinguished Professorial Lecturer.[99]

In August 2012, Crist endorsed President Obama in his campaign for reelection over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, saying that the Republican Party "pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people."[100][101] Crist was a speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, saying, "I didn't leave the Republican Party; it left me."[102][103]

Party switch and The Party's OverEdit

On December 7, 2012, Crist announced that he had joined the Democratic Party.[2] In July 2013, it was announced that Crist was writing a new book.[104][105] The book, The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat, was released in February 2014.[106][107] In the book, Crist details why he left the Republican Party and became a Democrat.[108] He claimed that his career in the Republican Party was destroyed by a hug between him and Obama at a Fort Myers town hall on February 10, 2009. "It was the kind of hug I'd exchanged with thousands and thousands of Floridians over the years", Crist wrote. "I didn't think a thing about it as it was happening." But it "ended my viable life as a Republican politician. I would never have a future in my old party again. My bipartisan hopes and dreams, I would discover soon enough to my shock and disappointment, were vastly overstated and hopelessly out of date."[109]

In May 2014, however, Crist told Fusion's Jorge Ramos that he had left the Republican Party because of its racial attitudes. "I couldn't be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president—I'll just go there", Crist said. "I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing. It was intolerable to me." The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza rejected this claim, citing Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith as saying that Crist "was happy as a Republican when the polls showed him leading Marco Rubio by 20 points." Cilizza wrote that Crist's party switch "epitomized for many within the Republican base that Crist lacked any core principles or beliefs and, instead, simply went with whatever was popular at the moment."[110]

In a New Republic review, Isaac Chotiner called The Party's Over an "account of why Crist switched parties" and wrote that Crist had "revealed himself".[111] Writing in Rolling Stone magazine in 2014, Jeb Lund described Crist as "a Republican conveniently converted to Democrat", adding, "what made Crist dynamic as a Republican ... was a vaguely populist nose-thumbing at Republican orthodoxy", and that "Charlie Crist is a Democrat only if you are a Republican."[112]

2014 gubernatorial electionEdit

On November 1, 2013, Crist filed to run for governor as a Democrat.[113] He won the Democratic nomination but was defeated in the general election by Republican incumbent Rick Scott. Crist holds the rare distinction of losing a statewide general election in Florida as a Republican, a Democrat and an Independent.

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit



On October 20, 2015, Crist announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination for Florida's 13th congressional district, his home district, in the 2016 U.S. House of Representatives elections.[114] He had previously announced on Twitter that he would not run for political office in 2016.[115] Republican incumbent David Jolly, who succeeded 43-year incumbent Bill Young in a 2014 special election, was vacating the seat to run for the same Senate seat for which Crist ran in 1998 and 2010.

But when Senator Marco Rubio decided to run for reelection, Jolly dropped out of the Senate race and sought reelection to the House, even though the 13th district had become significantly friendlier to Democrats when a court tossed out Florida's original congressional map. The new map drew nearly all of St. Petersburg, along with most of the more Democratic southern portion of Pinellas County, into the 13th.[116] The district had been in Republican hands without interruption since 1955, and had been one of the first areas of Florida to turn Republican. However, it had become more of a swing district at the presidential level since the 1990s; it has supported a Democrat for president in all but one election since 1992.

In the general election, Crist defeated Jolly 52–48%,[6] becoming the first Democrat to win the seat in 62 years.


In 2018, Crist was endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund, which called him "a leader on protecting Florida from and planning for the impacts of climate change during his time as Governor and in Congress."[117] Crist won a second term with 57 percent of the vote.


Crist was sworn in on January 3, 2017. He is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition,[118] the New Democrat Coalition,[119] the Climate Solutions Caucus[120] and the U.S.-Japan Caucus.[121]

On December 18, 2019, Crist voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.[122]

Crist introduced H.R. 305, which presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Officer Eugene Goodman for his valor during the January 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol.[123]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Caucus membershipsEdit

2022 gubernatorial electionEdit

On May 4, 2021, Crist announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 2022 Florida gubernatorial election.[7]

Political positions after party switchEdit


In June 2017, Crist was one of 24 House Democrats to vote for Kate's Law. The next month, he was one of five Democrats to vote to fund President Trump's border wall, and the next day, issued a statement saying that he opposed the wall.[126]

Same-sex marriageEdit

On May 9, 2013, Crist announced that he supports same-sex marriage: "I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here."[127] In both 2006 and 2008, Crist announced his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, but by 2010 he had endorsed adoption rights for gay couples.[127][128]

United States embargo, trip to CubaEdit

In May 2014, Crist publicly stated his support for lifting the United States embargo against Cuba, arguing it has not helped to change the Cuban government. He had supported the embargo earlier as both a Republican and independent.[129] Also in 2014 he announced he had requested permission from the Department of State to travel to Cuba with a delegation of business, academic and economic development officials. In June Crist indefinitely postponed the trip.[130][131][132]

In 2019, Crist quietly visited Cuba to meet with Cuban officials, despite high bilateral tensions due to alleged Cuban support for the Maduro regime in Venezuela.[133] The three-day trip was not announced by his congressional office and was disclosed due to required filings in the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics, with no details about it on Crist's House website.[133] The sponsor of the trip was the Center for Democracy in the Americas, an organization that "promotes a U.S. policy toward Cuba based on engagement and recognition of Cuba’s sovereignty", according to its website.[133] Photos of Crist smiling during a meeting with Cuban officials, including Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, were published in the official newspaper of Cuba's Communist Party during his stay.[133]

Marijuana legalizationEdit

Crist said "fully legalizing marijuana" would bring about "true justice in our state and in our country" in announcing his candidacy for governor in 2021.[134] He also voted for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act to legalize cannabis at the federal level and expunge cannabis convictions in 2020.[135][136] In 2018, he introduced the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act to limit the ability of federal workers or applicants to be fired or denied employment for cannabis use.[137]

Gun policyEdit

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, Crist announced a reversal of some of his previous stances on gun control. Before 2012, he had sometimes accused his opponents of not supporting gun rights strongly enough. He was also endorsed by the NRA in 2006. In 2012, Crist announced that he supported reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, banning high-capacity magazines, and instating more extensive background checks.[138] In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, he announced his support for additional measures, including a ban on bump stocks,[139] and also said he does not support arming teachers.[140]

When he left the gubernatorial office in 2011, Crist had an A rating from the NRA.[141] In 2016, he received an F rating from the NRA, its lowest rating.[142]

Felons' voting rightsEdit

In a February 12, 2018, op-ed for USA Today, Crist wrote that Florida was "one of only three states that permanently bans non-violent, ex-felons from voting" and that this "disenfranchisement of 1.5 million of our fellow citizens is shameful."[143]

Crist and his former wife Carole Rome

Personal lifeEdit

In July 1979, Crist married Amanda Morrow. They divorced within a year.[144]

Crist became engaged to Carole Rome on July 3, 2008, after nine months of dating, and they married on December 12 of that year at the First Methodist Church of St. Petersburg, where Crist is a member.[145] In February 2017, Crist announced that he had filed for divorce.[146]

Electoral historyEdit

Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Charlie Crist 484,466 50.11
Republican Tom Warner 257,049 26.59
Republican Locke Burt 225,360 23.31
Total votes 966,875 100.00
2002 Florida Attorney General election[147]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Charlie Crist 2,636,616 53.42% +12.98%
Democratic Buddy Dyer 2,299,149 46.58% −12.98%
Majority 337,467 6.84% −12.29%
Turnout 4,935,765
Republican gain from Democratic Swing
Republican primary results[148]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Charlie Crist 630,816 63.98%
Republican Tom Gallagher 330,165 33.49%
Republican Vernon Palmer 13,547 1.37%
Republican Michael W. St. Jean 11,458 1.16%
Total votes 985,986 100.00%
2006 Florida gubernatorial election[149]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Charlie Crist/Jeff Kottkamp 2,519,845 52.20% −3.81%
Democratic Jim Davis/Daryl Jones 2,178,289 45.10% +1.94%
Reform Max Linn 92,595 1.90% +1.90%
Independent John Wayne Smith 15,987 0.30%
Independent Richard Paul Dembinsky 11,921 0.20%
Independent Karl C.C. Behm 10,487 0.20%
Write-ins 147 0.00% 0
Majority 341,556 7.10% -5.75%
Turnout 4,829,271
Republican hold Swing
2010 United States Senate election in Florida[150]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Marco Antonio Rubio 2,645,743 48.89% −0.54%
Independent Charles Joseph Crist Jr. 1,607,549 29.71% +29.71%
Democratic Kendrick Brett Meek 1,092,936 20.20% −28.12%
Libertarian Alexander Snitker 24,850 0.46% N/A
Independent Sue Askeland 15,340 0.28% N/A
Independent Rick Tyler 7,394 0.14% N/A
Constitution Bernie DeCastro 4,792 0.09% N/A
Independent Lewis Jerome Armstrong 4,443 0.08% N/A
Independent Bobbie Bean 4,301 0.08% N/A
Independent Bruce Riggs 3,647 0.07% N/A
Write-ins 108 0.00%
Majority 1,038,194 19.19% +18.08%
Turnout 5,411,106 48.25%[151] −22.67%
Total votes 5,411,106 100.00%
Republican hold Swing
Democratic primary results[152]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Charlie Crist 623,001 74.36%
Democratic Nan Rich 214,795 25.64%
Total votes 837,796 100%
2014 Florida gubernatorial election[153]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Rick Scott/Carlos López-Cantera (incumbent) 2,865,343 48.14% −0.73%
Democratic Charlie Crist/Annette Taddeo 2,801,198 47.07% −0.65%
Libertarian Adrian Wyllie/Greg Roe 223,356 3.75% N/A
Independent Glenn Burkett/Jose Augusto Matos 41,341 0.70% N/A
Independent Farid Khavari/Lateresa A. Jones 20,186 0.34% +0.20%
N/A Write-ins 137 0.00% 0.00%
Total votes 5,951,571 100.0% N/A
Republican hold
Florida's 13th congressional district, 2016 [154]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Charlie Crist 184,693 51.9
Republican David Jolly (incumbent) 171,149 48.1
Total votes 355,842 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican
Florida's 13th congressional district, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Charlie Crist (incumbent) 182,717 57.6
Republican George Buck 134,254 42.4
Total votes 316,971 100.0
Democratic hold
Florida's 13th congressional district, 2020
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Charlie Crist (incumbent) 215,405 53.03%
Republican Anna Paulina Luna 190,713 46.95%
Independent Republican Jacob Curnow (write-in) 7 0.01%
Total votes 406,125 100.0
Democratic hold


  • The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat (2014) ISBN 978-0525954415

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wallsten, Peter; Bauerlein, Valerie (April 29, 2010). "Crist Looks to Go It Alone". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on July 10, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Changing Affiliation Again, Former Governor of Florida Becomes a Democrat". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 8, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  3. ^ "Ex-GOP Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist to run for job as Democrat". Politico. Associated Press. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "Florida Department of State - Election Results".
  5. ^ Adam C. Smith; Steve Bousquet; Katie Sanders (November 4, 2014). "Florida Gov. Rick Scott defeats Charlie Crist for re-election". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  6. ^ a b 2016 Florida House Election Results
  7. ^ a b Mazzei, Patricia (May 4, 2021). "Charlie Crist, a Florida Democrat, will run against DeSantis for governor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d Morgan, Lucy (May 9, 2005). "Crist Will Enter Governor's Race". St. Petersburg Times. pp. 1A. Retrieved January 12, 2007.
  9. ^ a b "Charlie Crist, Tom Colicchio, Alicia Menendez, S. E. Cupp, P. J. O'Rourke". Real Time with Bill Maher. Episode 306. February 7, 2014. HBO.
  10. ^ Steve Bousquet (October 20, 2006). "Father is first for unmarried politico". St. Petersburg Times.
  11. ^ Medved, Michael (May 28, 2008). "The GOP Veep List: Pros and Cons". Retrieved October 15, 2008.
  12. ^ "Richard Burr, an old football buddy of Charlie Crist, says Crist 'in search of a title'". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  13. ^ "Charlie Crist: A fuzzy line divides personal and political lives". Sarasota Herald Tribute. August 27, 2006.
  14. ^ Laura Fitzpatrick; Lauren E. Bohn (May 14, 2009). "2 Minute Bio". Time. Archived from the original on May 17, 2009.
  15. ^ Hegarty, Stephen (September 1, 2001). "Candidate failed 2 bar exams; Florida's top educator, who hopes to be its top legal officer, says failing taught him "never give up"". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  16. ^ a b c William March (August 9, 2006). "Sticking To His Guns". The Tampa Tribune. Archived from the original on September 16, 2006.
  17. ^ a b Morris, Allen; Joan Perry Morris, compilers. The Florida Handbook 2007–2008 (31st Biennial ed.). Peninsula Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-9765846-2-9.
  18. ^ a b c Leary, Alex (May 15, 2011). "Florida Democrats divided on redistricting, black representation". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 16, 2011.[dead link]
  19. ^ "November 3, 1992 General Election Official Results". Florida Division of Elections Results Archive. Florida Department of State. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  20. ^ "November 8, 1994 General Election Official Results". Florida Division of Elections Results Archive. Florida Department of State. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  21. ^ "1998 U.S. Senate results". Federal Elections Commission. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  22. ^ "Victory Smiles at Charlie Crist". The International Coordinating Committee "Justice for Cyprus" (PSEKA). October 20, 2006. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.
  23. ^ "Fla. gov touts stimulus package benefit at meeting". Forbes. Associated Press. January 27, 2009. Archived from the original on February 5, 2009.
  24. ^ Morning Joe. "Crist: Stimulus will help Florida". MSNBC. Archived from the original on February 2, 2004.
  25. ^ "GOP Gov Support Obama Stimulus". Hardball. NBC News.
  26. ^ Adam C. Smith (February 13, 2009). "GOP seethes over Charlie Crist's stimulus-plan support". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on October 7, 2009.
  27. ^ Charlie Crist Effusive About Barack Obama at Tampa Press Banquet, Huffington Post (November 17, 2012).
  28. ^ Amy Sherman, Charlie Crist says in debate that stimulus saved 20,000 teacher jobs, PolitiFact Florida (October 10, 2014).
  29. ^ Dara Kam (April 15, 2008). "Crist signs bring your gun to work bill". Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on August 29, 2008.
  30. ^ "Florida lawmakers pass "take your guns to work" law". Reuters. April 9, 2008.
  31. ^ a b c d e Steve Bousquet, Crist's stance on abortion still hazy, St Petersburg Times (August 18, 2006).
  32. ^ a b "Charlie Crist was pro-life, pro-gun and anti-tax, says George LeMieux". Politifact. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  33. ^ Adam C. Smith, Amid intense chatter, Crist denies he would run as independent Archived March 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, St. Petersburg Times (March 2, 2010).
  34. ^ a b c d Michael Winter, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist vetoes ultrasound abortion bill USA Today (June 11, 2010).
  35. ^ a b c Brandon Larrabee, Abortion bill may be political land mine for Crist, News Service of Florida (June 1, 2010).
  36. ^ a b c d e Molly Moorhead, After voting for a ban, Charlie Crist now backs gay marriage, PolitiFact Florida (May 9, 2013).
  37. ^ a b c d e Amy Sherman, Before he changed his stance on gay marriage, Charlie Crist says he always supported civil unions (February 7, 2014).
  38. ^ a b c d e f On adoption by gay couples, PolitiFact (February 10, 2014).
  39. ^ Smith, Adam C. (June 18, 2010). "McCollum touts tax freeze; Crist open to gay adoption". St. Petersburg Times. Sarasota, Florida. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  40. ^ Dara Kim, Crist: I've had 'appropriate evolution' on gay rights, Palm Beach Post (September 14, 2010).
  41. ^ Johnson, Luke. "Charlie Crist 'Sorry' He Backed Gay Marriage Ban, Calls It A 'Mistake'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  42. ^ "Charlie Crist apologizes for backing same-sex marriage ban". MSNBC. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  43. ^ "Charlie Crist Says 'Sorry' for Supporting Florida's Same-Sex Marriage Ban". The Advocate. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  44. ^ Guardian UK "Florida to buy 187,000 farmland acres to preserve Everglades"
  45. ^ Miami Herald "Crist praises water managers for support of Big Sugar land buy" [1][dead link]
  46. ^ Miami Herald "Crist has competition: U.S. Sugar has offer from another suitor"
  47. ^ AP "Fla. revises deal with US Sugar to save Everglades" By Jessica Gresko The Associated Press November 11, 2008[permanent dead link]
  48. ^ Van Natta Jr, Don; Cave, Damien (March 7, 2010). "Deal to Save Everglades May Help Sugar Firm". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  49. ^ Jim Loney (July 11, 2007). "Florida To Introduce Tough Greenhouse Gas Targets". Reuters. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  50. ^ "In Switch, Florida's Crist Eyes Offshore Drilling" NPR
  51. ^ Lesley Clark (November 2, 2005). "Crist: Hands off death penalty law". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on October 22, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
  52. ^ Cillizza, Chris. "Charlie Crist didn't leave the Republican party because of racism. He left it because he couldn't win a primary". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  53. ^ "A Foundation Inspired by a Family". Childnett.Tv. Archived from the original on September 19, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  54. ^ Insurance Journal "Fla. Gov. Crist Persuades Cabinet to Block Insurers' Exit"
  55. ^ "Florida Governor Charlie Crist | Governor Crist Launches "Shop and Compare Insurance Rates" Web Site". Archived from the original on May 14, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  56. ^ "Governor Crist Launches Shop and Compare Website" and
  57. ^ "Florida's Unnatural Disaster Charlie Crist, taxpayers and the next hurricane". The Wall Street Journal.
  58. ^ "Crist: Florida 'better off' without State Farm". Associated Press.
  59. ^ "State Farm Abandons Florida's Homeowners Market". NPR.
  60. ^, "Florida Attorney General in Hot Water", February 13, 2006
  61. ^ Palm Beach Post, via Alamy, "Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist poses for photo with Ex-Ukrainian Governor (of Sumy) Volodymyr Shcherban during a fundraiser hosted for Crist by Donald Trump at Mar-a-lago Friday night". February 3, 2006 (accessed October 16, 2019)
  62. ^ Orlando Sentinel, "Former Ukrainian official arrested, faces deportation", October 14, 2005 (accessed October 16, 2019)
  63. ^ Broward-Palm Beach New Times, "Scott Rothstein: The Crist Angle". November 4, 2009 (accessed October 16, 2019)
  64. ^ St. Petersburg Times (Associated Press), "Crist sees a fluster over two donations", February 13, 2006
  65. ^ South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "Who are the three South Florida businessmen tangled in Trump impeachment inquiry?" October 7, 2019 (accessed October 16, 2019)
  66. ^ Miami Herald (via McClatchy), "Feds say $5,000 donation to Florida Gov. Crist is illegal". February 27, 2009 (accessed October 16, 2019)
  67. ^ Seattle Times "We'll win Florida, Giuliani says" Michael D. Shear (January 12, 2008). "'We'll win Florida,' Giuliani says". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2008.
  68. ^ NBC News "Giuliani pins his hopes on Florida"
  69. ^ Farrington, Brendan (January 30, 2008). "Gov Crist could benefit from McCain win". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  70. ^ The Boston Globe "Calling McCain a true American hero fla governor endorses" [2] Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  71. ^ AP and Fox News "Florida Governor Signs Bill to Move Up Presidential Primary to January" [3] Archived September 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  72. ^ New York Times "G.O.P. Plans Early-Primary Penalties"
  73. ^ Miami Herald, "All 114 FL delegates get seats on GOP convention floor"
  74. ^ CNN, "Florida, Michigan get all delegates, but each gets half vote" [4] Archived November 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  75. ^ Politico, "Florida Gov. wants all delegates seated"
  76. ^ "McCain scores Crist's endorsement". Miami Herald. January 26, 2008. Retrieved October 14, 2008.[dead link]
  77. ^ Ray, Whitney (January 27, 2008). "Crist's Endorsement Helped McCain Defeat Romney". Capitol News Service. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  78. ^ Flaherty, Mary Pat (October 28, 2008). "Crist Extends Early Voting Hours in Fla". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  79. ^ Rabin, Charles; Lebovich, Jennifer; Caputo, Marc (October 29, 2008). "Florida's Early Voting Hours Are Extended". Miami Herald. Retrieved November 22, 2008.[dead link]
  80. ^ CBS News "Barack Obama Wins Presidency"
  81. ^ A Message from Charlie "Listen to the Voters and Serve" By Charlie Crist
  82. ^ Bloomberg News "Governors Crist, Sanford Split Over Republican Path to Success"
  83. ^ Ostermeier, Eric (April 2, 2013). "Charlie Crist: There and Back Again?". Smart Politics.
  84. ^ Damien Cave; Gary Fineout (May 12, 2009). "Restless in Tallahassee, or With Eye on 2012, Governor Rolls Dice". The New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  85. ^ Miami Herald "Is Republican Party united behind Charlie Crist?" [5][dead link]
  86. ^ Beth Reinhard (April 2, 2009). "Kendrick Meek raises $1.5 million for Senate bid". Miami Herald.[dead link]
  87. ^ "Poll: Crist Ahead If He Runs As Independent". CBS News. April 15, 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  88. ^ Finn, Tyler (April 16, 2010). "Will Charlie Crist Run as an Independent?". CBS News. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  89. ^ "Crist's independent run draws praise – and scorn".Orlando Sentinel, April 30, 2010.
  90. ^ Reinhard, Beth (May 13, 2010). "Charlie Crist won't refund campaign donations - Florida". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on June 5, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  91. ^ Gov. Charlie Crist changes course on returning campaign donations Politifact (Tampa Bay Tribune / Miami Herald) May 19, 2010 "Crist said he would 'probably give it back to them', leading donors to believe that as the dictionary states it was 'to be expected' or 'without much doubt' that they would see some of their cash back from Crist. We find Crist completely changed his position from entertaining the idea of giving the money back, to definitely not giving the money back. Our verdict: Full Flop."
  92. ^ Florida Division of Elections. "Official Results of 2010 Election". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014.
  93. ^ "David Byrne forces Charlie Crist to record embarrassing apology for stealing Talking Heads song".
  94. ^ Charlie Crist Official Apology to David Byrne for Copyright Infringement.
  95. ^ a b Matt Dixon, Charlie Crist: Touted as attorney for Morgan & Morgan, but hasn't been in court, Naples Daily News (July 21, 2014).
  96. ^ "New Member: Democrat Charlie Crist Elected in Florida's 13th District". Roll Call. November 9, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  97. ^ Slager, Brad. "Is Morgan & Morgan Trying to Memory-Hole Charlie Crist?". Sunshine State News. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  98. ^ Becky Bowers, Charlie Crist is a big hit in first law lecture at Stetson Archived May 6, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Tampa Bay Times (April 12, 2011).
  99. ^ Crist will be Distinguished Professorial Lecturer, Stetson University (February 28, 2011).
  100. ^ Vanessa Williams, Former Fla. governor Charlie Crist endorses Obama Archived May 6, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Washington Post (August 26, 2012).
  101. ^ Charlie Crist, [Here's why I'm backing Barack Obama], Tampa Bay Times (August 26, 2012).
  102. ^ Emily Schultheis, Charlie Crist defends Obama at DNC, Politico (September 6, 2012).
  103. ^ Charlie Crist Remarks at 2012 Democratic National Convention (official video).
  104. ^ "Charlie Crist has "no-holds-barred" book coming out". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  105. ^ Linkins, Jason (July 10, 2013). "Charlie Crist Is Writing A Book Because He Is Likely Going To Run For Governor Of Florida". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  106. ^ "Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist attacks rivals in new book". WTSP. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  107. ^ "Charlie Crist attacks rivals in new book". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  108. ^ "Charlie Crist's new book: Rick Scott is a 'terrible governor,' Sarah Palin is 'different'". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  109. ^ Crist, Charlie. "The Hug That Killed My Republican Career". Time. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  110. ^ Cillizza, Chris. "Charlie Crist didn't leave the Republican party because of racism. He left it because he couldn't win a primary". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  111. ^ Chotiner, Isaac. "Charlie Crist's Achingly Bad Search for Self". The New Republic. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  112. ^ Lund, Jeb. "The Florida Farce: Rick Scott Vs. Charlie Crist". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
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  114. ^ "Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announces he's running for Congress". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  115. ^ @CharlieCrist (March 16, 2015). "I will not be seeking office in 2016, but I will be working alongside my fellow @FlaDems. Join me at" (Tweet). Retrieved October 21, 2015 – via Twitter.
  116. ^ Steve Newborn; Mark Schreiner (November 9, 2016). "Crist Revives Political Career With Win over Jolly". WUSF.
  117. ^ Auster, Craig. "LCV Action Fund Endorses Charlie Crist For Re-Election". League of Conservative Voters. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
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  126. ^ Iannelli, Jerry. "Florida Democrat Charlie Crist Votes to Fund a Border Wall He Says He Doesn't Support". Miami New Times. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  127. ^ a b Weiner, Rachel (May 9, 2013). "Charlie Crist endorses gay marriage". Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 'I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here', the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat wrote on his Facebook page. He congratulated Delaware on becoming the 11th state to legalize gay marriage.
  128. ^ Associated Press release (May 9, 2013). "Ex-Republican Charlie Crist backs gay marriage". Wisconsin Gazette. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2013. The statement marks a shift in Crist's views on gay marriage. He once supported Florida's constitutional ban on gay marriage, but also later said he wouldn't support a similar federal ban.
  129. ^ Charlie Crist flip-flops on U.S. embargo against Cuba
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External linksEdit

Florida Senate
Preceded by Member of the Florida Senate
from the 20th district

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Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Florida
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David Bludworth
Republican nominee for Attorney General of Florida
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Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Florida
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U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 13th congressional district

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