Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (D) followed his Tuesday primary win with a comment that could easily alienate half of the voters in his state — at least some of whom he is likely to need if he wants to win the general election in November.
Crist bested Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture in Tuesday’s contest, and is set to face incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in November, but his comments may not help him in a state where polls show the current governor with a healthy eight-point lead over Crist.
Democrat nominee for Florida governor Charlie Crist attacks supporters of Gov. @RonDeSantisFL as “haters”:
“I don’t want your vote. If you have that hate in your heart, keep it there!” pic.twitter.com/n61dNpGSsN
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 24, 2022
“Those who support the governor should stay with him and vote for him, and I don’t want your vote,” Crist said, emphasizing the words “I don’t want your vote.” “If you have that hate in your heart, keep it there!”
“I want the vote of the people of Florida who care about our state: good Democrats, good independents, good Republicans,” Crist continued, calling on Florida voters to unify even as he attacked them. “Unify with this ticket. Unify with Val Demings and Charlie Crist. Unify with us. Those who are haters? You’re going to go off in your own world, and you better get right.”
DeSantis campaign spokeswoman Christina Pushaw responded to Crist’s comments in a statement provided to The Daily Wire. “It’s day one of the general election and Charlie is already asking people not to vote for him. That’s not exactly a winning strategy,” she said.
“‘I don’t want your vote’ is quite the message for a Democrat politician who has been running for office for 30+ years,” the GOP’s Deputy Communications Director Nathan Brand responded.
“‘I don’t want your vote’ is certainly an interesting general election strategy,” Jake Schneider tweeted.
Kyle Martinsen noted that just 17 hours earlier, Crist had shared a tweet claiming, “DeSantis fights to divide. I fight to unite.”
— Kyle Martinsen (@KyleMartinsen_) August 24, 2022
Abigail Marone, press secretary to Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), referenced a similar gaffe made by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her failed 2016 presidential run. “Basket of deplorables moment,” she tweeted.
Clinton famously referred to half of former President Donald Trump’s supporters as essentially irredeemable, saying that she considered them to be a part of what she called the “basket of deplorables.”
“To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” Clinton snickered at a New York fundraiser in 2016. “Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”