Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist Monday became the first Republican of an expected three or more to file the paperwork to succeed Gov. Jeb Bush.
Polls show state CFO Tom Gallagher running a close second, although he is yet to file, and Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings is considering a run. While the move has been expected, there was still a surprise in the Monday filing.
While Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist sat next to CFO Tom Gallagher on the Capitol steps during a law enforcement memorial Monday Morning, one of TV's most notable crime fighters, John Walsh, was filing the documents making Crist the first mainstream Republican seeking to replace Jeb Bush.
"As a crime victim myself, he has demonstrated that he really cares about victims."
On the issues, a humble Crist, promised to make crime and education his top priorities.
"That we have the opportunity to fight for less taxes, less government and more freedom."
With the attorney general now officially in the race, and the lieutenant governor and CFO soon to be there, this is going to be the most hotly contested and longest race for governor that Republicans have had in recent history.
This year, lawmakers eliminated the runoff primary for good. If Jeb Bush signs the bill, political scientist Lance DeHaven Smith says the end of the runoff will complicate inter-republican party relations.
"A lot of it will depend on the fund-raising, how they do early on and that and really who has the stamina to get in there and make it to the primary."
The Crist filing is one more sign the end is near for Jeb Bush.
"As long as we are advocating ideas and some of them are embraced and some of them aren't, we are not going backwards."
Bush did promise to campaign vigorously no matter who the GOP nominee may be.
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher is expected to file his campaign papers for the governor's race before the end of the month.