Former Gov. Charlie Crist announced Tuesday he's running for Florida's open 13th District — giving Democrats a top-tier recruit in a prime pickup opportunity next fall.
Crist, the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat, lives in the part of St. Petersburg which is now in Florida's 14th District. But a new congressional map , awaiting approval by the Florida Supreme Court, would move Crist into what would be a Democratic-leaning 13th District.
Anticipating a redrawn district that would make it a challenge for any Republican to hold, current Rep. David Jolly announced he is running for Senate in the Sunshine State, rather than re-election in his House seat.
Jolly came to Congress in a 2014 special election following the death of GOP Rep. C.W. Bill Young. He coasted to re-election last November, when Democrats failed to secure a candidate to challenge him.
President Barack Obama carried the district by a 2-point margin in 2012. But if the map a circuit judge recommended earlier this month is adopted by the Florida Supreme Court, as expected, the seat will take in the southeast corner of St. Petersburg — an area with a heavily Democratic population.
Former Obama aide Eric Lynn is currently running for the seat. But he would be an underdog for the Democratic nomination against Crist — who performed well in the district in his unsuccessful 2014 gubernatorial bid.
In the district's current form, the race is rated a Republican Favored contest by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call. But if the new district lines are adopted, the race is likely to shift in Democrats' favor.
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