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Crist revs up fundraising machine

Governor-elect Charlie Crist may have capped donations for his inauguration at $10,000, but his fundraising machine really cranked up in the final days before Crist assumes office. A week ago the inaugural committee had raised just over $610,000. Now the amount is nearly twice that. New totals posted Friday night show that the committee has now raised just under $1.2 million.

Florida's gambling industry continues to help out with Crist's inauguration. The latest report shows that parimutuel facilities, as well as the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida, and the New York developer who helped the Seminole Tribe expand its gambling empire all donated money bringing the total from the gambling industry to $61,000. Other familiar names on the latest report: $10,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, $10,000 from Jacksonville trial lawyer firm Pacjic & Pacjic, as well as $10,000 from Mark Guzzeta, who was the finance chairman for Crist's rival in the GOP primary, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher.

The Fort Lauderdale law firm of former Senate President Jim Scott kicked in $5,000, while Florida Crystals Corp. donated $10,000 and Hooters Restaurant gave $2,500. And a day after Crist tapped Rep. Holly Benson, a Pensacola Republican, to become secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, his inaugural committee received 18 donations from Pensacola addresses, including money from several Pensacola builders and developers.

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