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Charlie Crist announces Karla Hernández-Mats as running mate

President of Miami teachers union joins former governor's campaign
Charlie Crist and Karla Hernández-Mats appear at a rally in Miami-Dade county on Saturday, August 27, 2022.
Posted at 8:41 AM, Aug 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-27 23:15:45-04

MIAMI — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist announced Karla Hernández-Mats as his running mate on Saturday as he looks to defeat Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"Caring, loving, empathetic, compassionate," Crist said of his running mate. "That's what we don't have in the governor's office right now and that's what you deserve to have in the governor's office."

Crist made the announcement at a rally in Miami that officially begins his general election campaign.

Hernández-Mats has served as president of the United Teachers of Dade since 2016.

"I'm a teacher that's been working in underfunded schools for too long," Hernandez said.

She is also on the governance board of the Florida Education Association, which is the largest teacher's union in Florida.

"Is this a dream? Can somebody pinch me? It still hasn't sunk in," she said. "I can't believe that this is happening. It's amazing. I shared this earlier in Spanish — this is part of the American dream. I'm a first generation American. My parents are immigrants and to think that these opportunities could be offered to me, a middle school teacher."

Crist defeated Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in Tuesday night's primary.

"Karla Hernández-Mats, the Randi Weingarten of Florida, is the perfect fit for lockdown lover Crist's unpopular, anti-parents campaign," Republican National Convention spokeswoman Julia Friedland said.

Crist already served one term as a Republican governor from 2007-11 before becoming a Democrat.