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Florida's next governor will be celebrating in the greater Tampa Bay region on election night

Charlie Crist, left, and Ron DeSantis
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media; Associated Press
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Both Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, left, and incumbent Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will hold election night parties in the greater Tampa Bay region.

Both Democratic challenger Charlie Crist and incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis plan gatherings in the greater Tampa Bay region on Tuesday night.

By the end of Tuesday night's general election, Floridians will likely know who will lead them as governor.

Whether it's incumbent Republican incumbent Ron DeSantis or Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, both will be in the greater Tampa Bay region on election night.

DeSantis, who grew up in Pinellas County, plans to gather with supporters at the Tampa Convention Center.

READ MORE: Who is Charlie Crist? Get to know Florida's candidate for governor ahead of the 2022 election

Crist, meanwhile, is in South Florida before heading home to Pinellas County.

On Tuesday, Crist and his supporters will host a watch party in St. Petersburg. He resigned his seat as U.S representative for Pinellas County's 13th Congressional district to focus on the governor's race.

This is Crist's third bid for the state's highest office. He first became governor in 2006 as a Republican and served a four-year term.

Crist left the Republican party in 2010 to run as an independent against Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate. He made another run for governor as a Democrat in 2014 but lost by just one percentage point to now Republican U.S Senator Rick Scott.

READ MORE: Who is Ron DeSantis? Get to know Florida's governor ahead of the 2022 election

Political scientists predict Crist has a more formidable challenge in his bid to unseat DeSantis. For the first time in state history, there are more registered Republican voters than Democrats in Florida.

But whether DeSantis remains in office for the next four years remains to be seen, as his bid for re-election has been largely overshadowed by speculation about the future.

Much has changed since DeSantis won the 2018 election against Democrat Andrew Gillum by just .04 percent.

He's now a major Republican figure, gaining national attention on several fronts, from his response to the COVID-19 pandemic to chartering flights for migrants from Texas to Massachusetts.

Many expect him to run for president in 2024. DeSantis has said he's focused on his race against Crist. But he also wouldn't say during their debate if he'd serve a full second term as governor if re-elected.

And while an endorsement from former President Donald Trump is credited with helping DeSantis win in 2018, the two are not as close now — as evidenced by Trump referring to Florida's governor as “Ron DeSanctimonious” during a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.
As a reporter, my goal is to tell a story that moves you in some way. To me, the best way to do that begins with listening. Talking to people about their lives and the issues they care about is my favorite part of the job.