SHARECOMMENTMORE

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Florida's Charlie Crist is making it official.

The former Republican governor will formally kick off his second gubernatorial campaign as a Democrat at a rally Monday in Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg.

Crist filed paperwork to get in the race Friday. He's now the Democratic front-runner in the contest to challenge Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most unpopular chief executives in the country.

Democratic leaders see Crist as a charismatic candidate who can appeal to independent voters and lead them back to power.

But Republican officials paint Crist as a political opportunist with no principles.

Scott is expected to spend as much as $25 million in attack ads to amplify that message in what will be one of the most watched races in the country.