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Local party leaders react to Charlie Crist's run for Governor

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Updated: 11/04/2013 12:45 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local party leaders on both sides of the aisle said they were not surprised to learn of Charlie Crist's run for the governor's mansion.

According to Lenny Curry, Republican Party of Florida Chairman, it was the state GOP that first noticed Crist had filed to run with the Division of Elections Friday.

Crist is vying to get his old job back, but this time he will run as a Democrat.

For Nell Toensmann, who heads the St. Johns County Democratic Party, Crist's announcement will signal a viable chance to unseat Gov. Rick Scott.

"This is something he's done before, he can step in and get to work the very first day," said Toensmann.

But Curry said the former Republican will first have to win over voters after leaving the governor's office in 2011 to run for a vacant Senate seat he ended up losing.

"That's a time when Florida most needed him because we were losing jobs. We needed a leader and a governor that would mitigate that," said Curry. "He left office to run for the U.S. Senate and now he thinks he should be governor again."

According to Toensmann, there are certain issues she wants Crist to focus on if he's going to represent the Democrats.

"I want to hear that he supports the Democratic platform, that he supports the things that Democrats believe in. That he will work to get more money into education," said Toensmann.

No matter the outcome, all eyes will be on Florida come 2014, thanks to this race.

Crist will face former state Sen. Nan Rich from Broward County during the primaries.

According to Curry, Gov. Scott won't be in the state for Crist's announcement because he's in Japan all week on a trade mission.

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