WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

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. 

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.