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  1. Florida Politics

Crist for Congress? The answer might come Tuesday

Charlie Crist has said he’ll run if the district is remapped to include Democratic strongholds.
Charlie Crist has said he’ll run if the district is remapped to include Democratic strongholds.
Published Oct. 17, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — Charlie Crist is going to announce something big on Tuesday.

An expected run for Congress in the 13th District?

"The details will be released on Monday," Kevin Cate, a longtime Crist adviser, said Friday.

Rumors that Crist would announce his formal entrance into the race ramped up this week. The only declared candidate, fellow Democrat Eric Lynn, announced his latest fundraising figures Thursday: $150,000 for the latest quarter, bringing him to $550,000 in total. Lynn has $500,000 cash on hand.

"Since day one, I've been in this race to serve as a voice for the people of Pinellas County," Lynn said in response to a request for comment on Crist's terse news release Friday that the former governor was going to make a "major" announcement next week.

The state Supreme Court seems increasingly likely to approve a redrawn congressional map that brings heavily Democratic neighborhoods in south St. Petersburg into the 13th District.

Crist has said he'll run if that happens. On Friday, Cate said plenty of the former governor's supporters have been encouraging him to run.

Crist recognizes "a need to return civility to Washington, D.C.," Cate said. "I think he's taking that all into consideration."

Lynn, a former Obama administration official who is making his first run for elected office, has said he won't drop out if Crist enters the race.

Earlier this summer, before the state Supreme Court blew up the old boundaries of the district, which had skewed much more heavily Republican, several Democrats flirted with running: St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice, former Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern, State Rep. Dwight Dudley and Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.

But they bowed out once Crist signaled his interest.

No Republican has jumped into the fray since the incumbent, U.S. Rep. David Jolly, announced he would run for the U.S. Senate after the court ruling.

Contact Charlie Frago at cfrago@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow@CharlieFrago.

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