Charlie Crist enters race for Florida House seat
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Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will run for Congress, he announced Tuesday. 

"This is home and that's one of the main reasons I'm thankful to be here today and to run for Congress," he said in a press conference.


"It's like a calling and public service is in my heart, I can't help it, I guess that is fairly obvious. But somebody has to step up and somebody has to lead.  

He’ll make a play for the seat being vacated by Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.), who is leaving the House to run for Senate seat being vacated by Republican presidential candidate Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia Rubio: Khashoggi killing was ‘disrespectful to Trump’ O'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot MORE. Florida is in the midst of a major redistricting battle that has blurred the 2016 Congressional lines, but most expect Jolly’s seat to lean blue.  

Crist joins former Obama Pentagon official Eric Lynn in the Democratic primary. Lynn called for a "fresh face" with "new smart policy ideas" for Florida in a statement welcoming Crist into the race. 

"I’m confident I will be just that for my fellow Floridians, and I’m looking forward to a spirited primary on important Democratic issues to prove it to them," he said. 

Lynn has about $500,000 cash on hand for his bid. 

Crist opened a Congressional campaign account on Monday ahead of the press conference that shows he's running as a Democrat, the party he first embraced in 2012.  

The former governor has been active in Florida politics for more than three decades, serving in the Florida Senate, as education commissioner and attorney general before being elected governor in 2007 as a Republican.

He was the presumed favorite when he jumped into the 2010 GOP primary for the open Senate seat against then-state Rep. Marco Rubio but switched to an independent bid after Rubio overtook him at the polls. That forced a three-way race, which Rubio won easily.

Four years later, he tried to get his old seat back, challenging incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R). But despite winning the Democratic primary, Crist lost a tight election.

Since then, rumors of a political comeback have persisted and he tipped his hand this summer with a tweet teasing a congressional bid.

Rubio's run for president and the redistricting opened the door for him.

But former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker (R) told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday that he’s “intrigued” by the idea of running for the seat as well.

“A number of people I have great respect for have encouraged me to consider it and I will. I'll decide by early next year,” he told the paper.
- Updated at 5:36 p.m.