A week after winning the Democratic primary for Florida governor, Rep. Charlie Crist will resign from his seat in the US House effective at the end of Wednesday, his campaign confirmed.
Resigning from Congress frees up Crist to focus on his race against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. In 2018, DeSantis also resigned his House seat shortly after securing the GOP nomination.
Crist officially announced his plan to resign on Wednesday and said in a statement that serving in Congress “has been an honor and a privilege.”
The departure of Crist further narrows the Democratic majority in the House to 219 to 211, with five seats becoming vacant.
Crist was first elected to represent Florida’s 13th District, including his hometown of St. Petersburg, in 2016 after a bruising and expensive race against then-Rep. David Jolly, a Republican. He was re-elected in 2018 and 2020 with strong majorities.
Crist’s time in the US House marked a return to elected office for the long-time Florida politician after losing statewide races for US Senate in 2010 as an Independent and for governor as a Democrat in 2014. He previously served as a Republican state lawmaker, attorney general and governor.
Crist announced in May 2021 that he would forgo a campaign for a fourth term and would instead set his sights on a return to the governor’s mansion. At the time, Crist seemed to be giving up a safely Democratic seat, but the 13th District was dramatically changed during the redistricting process into one that former President Donald Trump would have carried by 7 points in 2020.
Republican Anna Paulina Luna, a conservative commentator, and Democrat Eric Lynn, a former senior defense adviser in the Obama administration, were nominated on August 23 by their respective parties to succeed Crist in Congress.
This story is breaking and has been updated.