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Crist picks a Miami teachers union leader to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis

A woman in a bold yellow blazer and blue beaded necklace grins happily
Associated Press
Congressman Charlie Crist has chosen Miami-Dade teachers union leader Karla Hernandez as his running mate on the democratic gubernatorial ticket

Democrat Charlie Crist has tapped Miami-Dade County teachers union president Karla Hernandez-Mats as his running mate as he challenges Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida.

Crist is a congressman who served as the state’s Republican governor a decade ago. He announced United Teachers of Dade President Hernandez-Mats as his pick at a Saturday rally in South Florida.

The selection of Hernandez-Mats ensures a Crist campaign focus on education, an arena where DeSantis has had considerable success in animating his conservative base through his hands-off approach to the coronavirus pandemic and policies limiting classroom discussions of race and LGBTQ issues.

In a fundraising email to his supporters, Gov. Ron DeSantis characterized Hernandez-Mats as "an anti-parent, pro-lockdown, Castro regime-sympathizer, teachers’ union radical" and stated, "even after the sweeping victories of Governor DeSantis-endorsed school board candidates — proving Floridians are looking for education, not indoctrination for our students."

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz Jr., celebrated the ticket in a statement.

"Karla’s selection demonstrates Charlie Crist’s commitment to fighting for working people struggling through Florida’s affordability crisis, ensuring Florida students receive high-quality education, standing up to the special interests bankrolling Ron DeSantis and protecting the freedom of women to make their own personal health care decisions.”

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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