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Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist resigns from Congress

Republican-turned-Democrat seeks to defeat Gov. Ron DeSantis in November
Charlie Crist in Hialeah to announce running mate, Aug. 27, 2022
Posted at 11:37 AM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 14:07:31-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., is resigning from Congress to focus on his campaign to become Florida's governor again.

Crist told the Tampa Bay Times that his resignation is effective at the end of the day Wednesday.

He said serving in Congress has been "an honor and a privilege."

Florida's 13th congressional district serves Pinellas County, including Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

Charlie Crist and Barack Obama shake hands in 2012
President Barack Obama talks with former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist at a campaign rally, Sept. 8, 2012, in Seminole, Fla. Crist left the Republican Party while seeking a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 as an independent.

He was first elected to the seat in 2016 and twice won reelection.

RELATED: Charlie Crist announces running mate

"Charlie Crist treats taxpayer-funded jobs like a game of musical chairs," Republican National Committee Florida spokeswoman Julia Friedland said in a statement. "Floridians can't wait to cut the music on his career for good in November."

Crist defeated Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to win the Democratic nomination in the gubernatorial election. He previously served as Florida's governor from 2007-11, when he was a Republican.

Gov. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio in 2007
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Coral Gables, left, take part in closing ceremonies of the Florida Legislature, May 4, 2007, in Tallahassee, Fla.

He'll face incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.

Republican nominee Anna Paulina Luna will face Democratic nominee Eric Lynn in the Nov. 8 general election to fill Crist's seat.

Anna Paulina Luna speaks during a campaign rally for President Donald Trump
Anna Paulina Luna, Republican candidate for U.S. House of Represntatives, speaks before President Donald Trump at a campaign rally Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in Tampa, Fla.