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Crist, Demings and other Dems celebrate wins, work to unite party

Gerard Albert III/WLRN
Fresh off his primary win, Charlie Crist joined other Florida democrats in an effort to unite the party.

Several Democrats gathered at a golf club in Broward County in an attempt to unite the party after primary wins.

Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried sat next to each other, with an empty chair in between, during a Thursday night rally at a Broward County golf club.

The event was designed to project party unity following Tuesday's primary elections, during which Crist trounced Fried in the bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

“We are here tonight for one reason, to make sure that we are united,” Fried said during the event. “I will be out there every single day fighting for this ticket.”

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She introduced Crist and hugged him before returning to her seat. She left shortly after.

Crist told the crowd: "We got to do what's right. We got to pull together. We got to make sure that everybody's pulling the same direction at the same time to have the same conclusion — and that is winning November 8th."

Crist and the other Democrats are trying to unite around one issue: ousting Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"When he says, you know, we're the freest state in America — is he crazy?" Crist jabbed at his November opponent. "I mean, apparently not, if you're a woman and you want the right to choose. Apparently not, if you're an African American voter and want to make sure your votes count."

Crist’s campaign said it has raised more than $1 million in the days after the primary vote. Some of that money came from California’s governor, who yesterday pledged $100,000.

DeSantis spent the morning in Orlando laughing off Crist’s claims that he is a dictator — and bragging about keeping Florida open during the pandemic.

“I think the people that are dictatorial are the ones that want to lock you down. I think the people who are dictatorial are the ones that wanted to lock kids out of school for a year — which all of them wanted to do here in Florida, and I stopped it and made sure the kids could be in school,” DeSantis said.

Gerard Albert III/WLRN
Val Demmings was introduced by Carli Albert, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alumna.

Democratic Senate hopeful Val Demings followed Crist, telling supporters it wasn’t going to be easy to win.

“We didn't build a great nation on easy. Do you think the women who marched in the women's suffrage movement to give women the right to vote — do you think that was easy? No, it wasn't easy," she said.

Demings, who won her Democratic primary this week, will need to defeat Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in November.

"We're excited about this night, because we're coming together for one common purpose... to save the very soul of Florida and save the very soul of our nation," she said.

Gerard Albert III is back in Broward, where he grew up, after reporting on crime and public safety in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and West Palm Beach. Albert is a former WLRN intern who graduated from Florida International University.