ORLANDO, Fla. - Former Governor Charlie Crist won the Democratic nomination to seek his old job with his new party, while current Governor Rick Scott won the Republican nomination.
The victory Tuesday is another step in Crist's attempt at a political comeback. He will now face Gov. Rick Scott, who was expected to win the Republican primary nomination.
Early returns showed Crist with 75 percent of the vote, with 35 percent of precincts reporting.
Crist beat Nan Rich, the former Senate Democratic leader who has been campaigning for governor longer than Crist has been a Democrat.
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For the past two days, Crist has been touring the state, stopping in central Florida on Monday. On Tuesday, he spent time at a phone bank in Boynton Beach, even making some calls himself.
Crist is trying to complete a political transformation from Republican to Independent to now Democrat. It's never been done before.
He's been running for about a year and has had some momentum, relying on his past popularity to get him though.
Crist has mostly ignored his opponent, instead focusing on Scott.
In the meantime, Scott spent Tuesday touring Florida, but he's already been focused on November.
Channel 9's Christopher Heath caught up with Scott, who will not hold a campaign event Tuesday night since he is not facing serious opposition in the primary.
His campaign this week rolled out a new plan for education, an issue that has dogged him since his first days in office.
Scott and his wife, Ann Scott met volunteers at his Orlando campaign office Tuesday morning.
Four years ago, Scott won the Republican primary by less than 40,000 votes, running on a platform as a businessman and political outsider.
Now, as the incumbent, he is working to lay out his vision for the next four years, which includes a plan to add more money to education.
Heath asked what he plans to do to make up for the $1.3 billion Scott cut from education in 2011.
"How do you go back to education and make this an issue considering there were such deep cuts your first year in office?" asked Heath.
"Charlie Crist left us with a terrible mess," said Scott. "He increased the state debt and cut education. We, in contrast as we have turned our economy around, we now have record funding for K-12 education."
Scott's plan for per-pupil funding would be $50 per student more than the record high under Crist.
Scott's campaign released a statement regarding the primary Tuesday night:
“The next few months are about talk versus action. That means Florida will have a choice between a governor who sent our state into a tailspin and a governor who gets results.
Charlie Crist failed as governor, lost 830,000 jobs, and tried to run off to Washington – and now he wants his job back. We’ve come a long way in the last few years, but there’s
plenty of work left to do. Let’s keep working."
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