Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist on Saturday named Miami-Dade County teachers union president Karla Hernandez-Mats as his running mate in the race against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Crist, a congressman who was the state’s Republican governor a decade ago, announced his selection at a campaign rally in Miami.
Hernandez-Mats’ appointment guarantees Crist a campaign focused on education, an arena in which DeSantis has had considerable success galvanizing his conservative base with support for scaled-down measures against the coronavirus pandemic and policies that limit discussions. in classrooms on topics like race and LGBTQ issues.
Hernández-Mats spoke out in favor of delaying the return of students to schools in the fall of 2020 and for the continuation of the use of masks in 2021, in defiance of the DeSantis administration.
She is the daughter of Honduran immigrants who arrived in the country in the 1970s and in 2016 she became the first Hispanic to be elected to lead the Dade teachers union.
Crist clinched the party’s nomination Tuesday by beating state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.