Democratic State Sen. Bracy hints at run for Florida governor challenging DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — State Sen. Randolph Bracy released a campaign-style video Tuesday strongly hinting that he’ll consider seeking the Democratic nomination to face Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis next year.

In the video, Bracy discusses problems facing the state because of the coronavirus pandemic, says the state needs to change course and needs a governor who will work with both parties to help Florida through the crisis.

He also discusses other issues facing the state, including health care, education and improving the economy.

“We need to practice a new kind of politics, one that uses big ideas and bold thinking to solve problems. We need to leave behind the small fights at the Capitol and figure out how to work together to move Florida in the right direction. That’s what I want to do,” Bracy says in the video.

But in a phone interview, Bracy said the video posted on his website isn’t an announcement that he’s getting in the race.

“I want to be a part of the conversation in picking a leader from the Democratic Party. I think this video just explains that,” he said. “I have not committed to running.”

He said it’s too early to make a decision to run. Bracy, 43, of Orlando, was elected to the House in 2012, where he served before being elected to the Senate in 2016. Despite Republicans controlling the Senate, he was picked as the first African American to serve as chair of the chamber’s Criminal Justice Committee.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who served as a Republican governor from 2007 to 2011 and who lost a bid to return to the governor’s office as a Democrat in 2014, is also considering another run at the office.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, is also expected to join the race.

Democrats have not won a governor’s race in Florida since Lawton Chiles in 1994.