Charlie Crist stops at the Jacksonville BBQ area and tries to revive the magic

The smell of pork was in the air on Thursday as a former governor. Charlie Crist spoke to a crowd at his first of three campaign events in Jacksonville.

democrat Crist Started day 3 of his current campaign for the governor with a major relapse in Jacksonville’s Northside.

The former governor and current congressman visited the Pig restaurant on Lem Turner Road, a building and neighborhood that has remained largely unchanged for decades. And the supporters also had a timeless feeling and showed that Crist’s path to the nomination is on familiar ground.

Reporters saw greetings and interactions with black politicians and preachers in a private room in the background and some interactions with guests in the main area of ​​the restaurant prior to the event.

The announced event did not begin until the onset of persistent rain that followed Crist from Pensacola. The meeting was confidential; A television crew and reporters were advised to leave. However, the campaign allowed the press to watch an event later.

Among the political names supporting Crist’s reboot: Member of Jacksonville City Council Reggie GaffneyGaffney is likely to be a Senate candidate next year, and his family has built a lasting political brand in Jacksonville.

Also at hand, former State Senator. Tony Hill, former state representative Terry Fieldsand former city council member Johnny Gaffneywho advocated the Republican Mayor Lenny curryElected in 2015 before getting a job in administration.

Crist was in tip top shape, asking questions, engaging the crowd as “children of God” and hugging the notorious Barack Obama Hug that led to his ex-communication from the GOP.

“Somebody took a picture and I’ve lived with it since,” joked Crist in a speech that touched on a range of topics from voting rights to Crist’s “Day One” commitment to a $ 15 minimum wage for the state .

Despite being the most well-known Democrat in the state, questions remain unanswered given past performance and party trends.

In the 2014 general election, Crist lost to Duval County Rick scott by almost 13%, but defeated Nan Rich by more than a two-to-one gap in elementary school. Since then, the county has been trending blue, Democrats Joe Biden, Bill Nelson, Andrew Gillum, and Nikki Fried wore it in the last election.

A good sign for Crist, who may be better positioned (if he can clear elementary school first).

Fried in Duval did well in 2018. However, she has put the work in since the election.

Crist addressed the state of the embryonic governor race, including potential adversary Fried, in comments exclusive to Florida Politics after the first event on Thursday. He described himself as an “outsider”.

“I think we need good Democrats everywhere to run, I really do. I would encourage any Democrat who wants to run for governor to do so“Said Crist.” I would encourage you to just search your heart and decide what to do. “

In contrast to the 2018 race, which turned nasty, Crist said “of course” that he expected a positive campaign.

“Look, I think we all have the same goal“He said.” We want to vote out Governor Ron DeSantis and give the people back their votes. That’s what this is about. “

About contacting younger voters: “You have to go to colleges, to universities, to go where the people are. Young people, old people, middle-aged people. Go to everyone. “

As he said during the event, Crist vowed to go anywhere in the state, noting a visit on Wednesday to Pensacola, which is not a historically democratic hotbed.

In a poll, the congressman has already been rated as the front runner in the race, which he noted in extensive comments to the breakfast participants. And he also made a point to mention a recent meeting with President Biden on Florida’s infrastructure needs, a move the current governor is unlikely to take.

Crist has two more events in Jacksonville on Thursday before heading to Lake County. There he will meet with union leaders for a round table and end the day with lunch with preachers and politicians in the famous Soul Food Bistro.

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