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Gubernatorial underdog Chris King talks faith, race and policy [Audio]

Megan Holmes

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Click the arrow above to listen to Chris King’s interview with Catalyst publisher Joe Hamilton. 

Chris King is what some might call an oxymoron. The Harvard-educated millionaire entrepreneur running for Florida Governor is known for being both deeply faithful and a highly progressive, life-long Democrat.

The polls have long shown King trailing his heavy-hitting opponents Gwen Graham, Philip Levine, Jeff Greene and Andrew Gillum. Despite a “David & Goliath”-like race, the numbers have yet to slow down King’s own fervor or the fever pitch of his campaign. He has been traveling the state, stumping his leadership on issues from standing up to Big Sugar to health care to affordable housing – but he’s spoken very little on how his faith might affect his leadership.

That changed this weekend when King joined Rev. Al Sharpton to speak out against Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, and the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton of Clearwater.

The shift continued Monday, as the Tiger Bay Club – St. Petersburg’s non-partisan political organization, known for inviting in speakers of all stripes to foster a better understanding of political issues – welcomed the gubernatorial candidate to Orange Blossom Catering in St. Petersburg.

Chris King addresses Tiger Bay Club at Orange Blossom Catering in St. Petersburg.

King followed up the event with an audio interview with Catalyst publisher Joe Hamilton.

At the event, King spoke openly about his faith, politics and racial divisions in Florida and across the country. In a candid discussion of his faith and its role in his candidacy, King argued that it is his faith that calls him to stand up for, not against, LGBT+ rights, racial injustice and issues of bias. 

King recognizes that he’s not your average candidate. In fact, he called himself a “curiosity to the Democratic party,” and openly recognized the deep distrust that many voters feel toward religious politicians. He also recognized that voters often see people who “look like” him (white, Christian, male, wealthy) running as conservatives.

But King rejected what he calls the “dangerous strand of white evangelical conservatism that has co-opted people of faith” from the early 1980s “Moral Majority” movement through the current Trump era.

With just 22 days until the culmination of the hotly-contested primary election, King seeks to set himself apart from the other candidates in the Democratic primary. But will it be enough to make up the deficit in the polls?

Click the arrow below to listen to King’s full Tiger Bay speech, courtesy of Radio St. Pete.

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