Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) racked up another high-profile endorsement in his bid against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, scoring the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“Charlie can and will defeat the current Governor and hit the ground running on day one in Tallahassee,” Pelosi said in a statement issued through Crist’s campaign. “I am proud to endorse Charlie Crist to be the next governor of Florida.”
The endorsement from Pelosi comes as the Democratic primary to take on DeSantis enters a more contentious new phase.
Crist’s main rival in the nominating contest, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, has begun to criticize the congressman more aggressively in recent weeks, pointing to his past as a Republican to argue that voters should nominate a “true” Democrat to take on DeSantis.
There’s more than four months to go before the primary. While polling in the Democratic contest has been scarce, a February survey from the University of North Florida showed Crist leading Fried 27 percent to 19 percent. Another candidate, state Sen. Annette Taddeo, registered 4 percent in that poll.
Regardless of who wins the nomination, Democrats are likely to have a tough time defeating DeSantis, a rising conservative star and potential contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nod.
Most polls show DeSantis’s approval rating above the 50-percent threshold, and the RealClearPolitics average of surveys in the 2022 Florida governor’s race has him leading both Crist and Fried in hypothetical general election match-ups.
DeSantis also has a massive fundraising operation to draw from. Between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31 of the same year, DeSantis pulled in nearly $109.7 million, according to fundraising records filed with the Florida secretary of state.