Charles Joseph Crist Jr. (/krɪst/; 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. The district is based in Pinellas County, including St. Petersburg. 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.
After initially leading in the 2010 Senate 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. 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 Governor Rick Scott, Crist’s successor, by a 1% margin. In 2016, Crist was elected to Congress from his home district, the 13th, defeating incumbent Republican David Jolly, 52%-48%. Crist is the only former governor serving in the House.