As Gov. DeSantis and Extremist Politicians in Florida Escalate Attacks on the Rights of Millions of Floridians, the Human Rights Campaign Endorses Rep. Charlie Crist for Governor of Florida and Scales Efforts to Mobilize Voters for 2022 Midterm Elections

by HRC Staff

HRC’s election program is expected to reach 4.2 million “Equality Voters” across Florida through volunteer canvassing, phone banking, voter registration drives, among other efforts

FLORIDA — As millions of Americans across Florida are being targeted by Gov. Ron DeSantis and extremist anti-equality judges and politicians trying to strip away the rights of LGBTQ+ people, women, and people of color, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) PAC today announced its endorsement of former Rep. Charlie Crist for Governor of Florida at a rally in Wilton Manors. The HRC PAC also announced major efforts to mobilize millions of voters in support of pro-equality, pro-choice, and pro-democracy candidates across the state.

HRC PAC endorsed six LGBTQ+ candidates for the Florida state legislature: Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (HD-37), Rep. Michele Rayner (HD-62), Adam Gentle (HD-120), Eunic Ortiz (SD-18), Janelle Perez (SD-38), and Sen. Shevrin Jones (SD-34) last week. HRC PAC endorsed Val Demings of Florida for U.S. Senate earlier this year.

HRC’s election program will mobilize more than 2 million “Equality Voters” in Florida for whom LGBTQ+ equality is a make-or-break issue through volunteer canvassing, phone banking, and voter registration drives, among other efforts.

HRC investment in the 2022 midterm elections in Florida will support:

  • Trainings & events — HRC kicked off a “Protect Democracy Tour '' with trainings in five cities this week on how Equality Voters, LGBTQ+ people and allies across Florida can help protect our vote and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. Events were held in Tampa (Sept 7), St. Petersburg (Sept 8), Miami (Sept 10), Wilton Manors (Sept 11), and Orlando (Sept 13). HRC will continue hosting campaign events through Election Day, including phone banks, text banks, canvassing and events for National Coming Out Day, National Voter Registration Day, and Latinx Heritage Month. Check out all upcoming HRC events in Florida here.

  • On-the-ground staff and infrastructure — HRC has already built up considerable infrastructure, including five full-time staff working to mobilize Florida voters.

  • Volunteer engagement — HRC’s strategy will be fueled in part by a vast and highly energized grassroots network that includes 400 active volunteers across Florida.

  • Partner engagement — HRC is working closely with nearly a dozen local partners on the ground including Equality Florida, SAVE, local chapters of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, QLatinx, All Voting Is Local, For Our Future FL, Vote Riders, Contigo Fund, TransInclusive Group, Gender Advancement Project, Poder Latinx, Florida Farm Workers Association, and other reproductive justice and voting rights organizations.

  • Endorsements — HRC will support endorsed pro-equality, pro-choice, and pro-democracy candidates up and down the ballot through direct voter outreach, campaign events, and more.

Interim President of HRC Joni Madison released the following statement:

“Gov. Ron DeSantis is one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ politicians in America and an existential threat to every LGBTQ+ person in Florida. The rights of millions of Floridians are being rolled back by him and an extremist minority of anti-equality judges and politicians attacking our families, our right to vote, and our right to access healthcare and make decisions about our own bodies. They are waging a brutal and coordinated campaign to roll back rights at a breakneck pace, and won’t stop until Floridians show up at the ballot box and vote them out of office. The Human Rights Campaign is proud to endorse Rep. Charlie Crist for Governor of Florida and we’re looking forward to fighting alongside him and pro-equality champions across Florida to put an end to Ron DeSantis’s extremist agenda.”

Rep. Charlie Crist released the following statement:

“I am beyond humbled by the outpouring of support from Human Rights Campaign, Equality FL Action PAC, SAVE, and the statewide caucus in our fight to make Ron DeSantis a one-term governor and restore kindness and compassion back to the Governor’s Mansion. Ron DeSantis will stop at nothing to appease his extremist base, including going after our fellow LGBTQ+ neighbors and innocent Floridians. Enough is enough. This November, we will put an end to his attacks on our communities once and for all.”

Executive Director of Equality Florida Nadine Smith released the following statement:

“LGBTQ+ Floridians know the stakes of this election — and are ready to send Charlie Crist back to the governor’s mansion. Ron DeSantis has waged war on the community, stoking anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry, making policies aimed at censoring our families from schools the cornerstone of his extremist agenda, and weaponizing state agencies against us, stripping transgender people of health care and assaulting nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ students. Charlie is a champion of LGBTQ+ equality and will fight to ensure every young person in our state is protected and every family is respected.”

Election Will Have Profound Impact on Millions of Floridians

In the last two years, extremist politicians have not only waged a misinformation campaign to smear LGBTQ+ people for political gain, but have launched an unprecedented legislative assault on the rights of LGBTQ+ people (especially LGBTQ+ children and young people) in state legislatures across the country — working overtime to shamelessly advance discrimination on a scale we’ve never seen before. 2022 surpassed 2021 as the worst year on record for introducing and enacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in statehouses across the country. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis and other extremist politicians have launched an unprecedented legislative assault on LGBTQ+ people, including:

  • One Week After DeSantis Banned Use Of Medicaid To Pay For Medical Treatment For Transgender Children, Data Showed Instances Were Rare: This summer, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, announced a rule change that will — contrary to all medical best practices — deny gender affirming care to Floridians of all ages who rely on Medicaid. One week after Florida banned the use of Medicaid to pay for medical treatment of gender dysphoria, newly released data showed the number of transgender children getting such aid remains rare in Florida.

  • DeSantis Attacks LGBTQ+ Youth: Ron DeSantis’s shameful “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law went into effect this summer, targeting LGBTQ+ youth and educators across the state by preventing them from having and providing a safe, inclusive classroom. The “Stop WOKE Act” also went into effect, another dangerous bill limiting protected speech in workplaces with more than fifteen employees and classrooms by censoring honest dialogue about systemic racism, gender, and race discrimination. It also changes Florida’s employment discrimination statutes to give employees the ability to file discrimination claims against an employer engaging in trainings or discussions about Black history, LGBTQ+ issues, and other concepts of injustice and discrimination. In 2021, the Florida state legislature passed a bill banning transgender youth from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

  • DeSantis Vetoed Mental Health Funding For Pulse Victims: Gov. DeSantis continued his anti-LGBTQ crusade on the second day of Pride Month last year by vetoing all funding for LGBTQ programs from the state budget. Canceled funding included money earmarked for mental health programming to support survivors of the Pulse Massacre, to house homeless LGBTQ children, and for Orlando’s LGBTQ Community Center.

  • DeSantis’ Spokeswoman Called Opponents Of Don’t Say Gay Or Trans Bill “Groomers”: Gov. DeSantis’ main spokeswoman suggested the Parental Rights in Education bill could fairly be called an “anti-grooming” bill. The bill at issue would prohibit teachers in public schools from discussing issues of sexual orientation or gender identity with children in grades kindergarten through three.

HRC’s Commitment to Florida

Equality Voters, including the more than 2 million in Florida, are a voting bloc of demographically and geographically diverse Americans who are united by the advancement of LGBTQ+ equality. Equality Voters are younger, more racially diverse, and more female than the general electorate, they recognize and trust the HRC brand, and they are more likely to identify with issue-specific organizations than candidates or political parties.

Across the country, HRC PAC works every day to elect pro-equality leaders who support policies that will support the rights and lives of LGBTQ+ people. During the 2020 election cycle, HRC staff on the ground recruited 5,800 individual volunteers nationwide who completed 28,500 hours of voter contact in more than 2,650 volunteer events. HRC engaged in robust digital and online GOTV efforts, including sending over 2.7 million person-to-person text messages, a massive increase from 2018 when approximately 500,000 texts were sent. HRC sent over 2.5 million mail pieces, had over 930,000 phone conversations with voters, and engaged more than 200,000 voters through HRC’s voter dashboard at

More information about HRC’s 2022 election program can be found at

For media interested in interviews with HRC election leaders, please contact

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC ( Not authorized by any federal candidate or candidate’s committee.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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