Veteran Greek-American Democrat Charlie Crist won the race at Florida’s 13th district, covering Pinellas County from Clearwater down through St. Pete, where he grew up.
Christ won by 53% receiving 215,000 votes. His challenger Republican Anna Luna got 190,000 votes with all results declared.
“I’m humbled and very grateful to have won again,” Crist said at a news conference outside his condominium in downtown St. Petersburg. “Public service, I think, is a calling. It’s something I’ve done for a long time. And I’m honored to have the opportunity to do it some more.”
The victory means a third term for Crist, 64, one of Florida’s most recognizable politicians and an advocate in Congress for veterans issues and civility.
He said his priorities in the next Congress will be advocating for veterans, protecting Social Security and Medicare, voting rights, protecting the environment and fighting climate change. He said he hopes to introduce a bill to make Election Day a national holiday.
“Just common sense things, things that are good for the people,” he said.
Crist was elected to the Florida State Senate in 1992, where he championed environmental protection issues and public education. In 2000, after two terms in the Florida Senate, he continued to push for education funding and better teachers’ pay as the state’s Education Commissioner. In 2002, he was elected Florida Attorney General.
When he served as Florida’s 44th Governor, he furthered his commitment to public education, using federal stimulus funding to save thousands of teachers’ jobs. Crist is also a staunch environmental advocate.