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Old-school Crist tries on new media

One of the biggest challenges for Gov. Charlie Crist as a non-partisan candidate for the U.S. Senate is going to be whether he can adjust to the new political landscape. Crist is a very traditional fundraiser who pries big checks out of donors hands the old-fashioned way.

But at his first fundraiser since defecting from the GOP, Crist signaled reluctant interest in the new political world order. He asked a campaign staffer, Mitch Wertheimer, to "tell them about all the Twitter and all that great stuff that you know that I don't have a clue about."

His appeal was followed by an e-mail campaign last week to raise "100K by 10 May...  $10, $25, $50, or even more -- whatever you can afford. Every dollar makes a huge difference." That's a far cry from the Crist of recent yesteryear, who would personally harangue donors -- along with their spouse, mother, client and second cousin -- to give the maximum contribution allowed

Rubio's campaign says he has raised more than $1 million on-line.

Comments

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FIUFan

Hey! How's that GOP credit card 'fishing expedition' coming along. Looks like a big waste of time.

Saint Petersblog

Reid phones @charlieCristfl: A sign of cooperation?

http://bit.ly/avHUP9

alice

Newsmax
Crist Gets Cozy With Harry Reid, White House
Monday, May 10, 2010 01:54 PM
By: David A. Patten

It appears that newly Independent Senate candidate Charlie Crist may find support from key Democrats, including the Obama White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Crist announced April 28 that he is breaking away from the Republican Party to run for the U.S. Senate as an Independent.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid placed a call to Crist last week. Reid has refused to say what they discussed, but the Journal says that "some Crist allies are taking it as a sign of cooperation to come."

Also, sources say the White House has been fielding calls from top Democratic operatives asking for permission to help Crist with his campaign. That would be vital to Crist, given that his Republican support has dried up since he left the GOP.

"Some Democrats are trying to figure out a way to go help Charlie Crist," NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd reported Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "Crist has reached out. Will the White House say, 'Hey, you do this you're persona non grata in the Democratic Party going forward?' Or will this be their tact way of saying, 'Look, you do what you do, we'll see you in 2012'."

Publicly, the White House is saying it enthusiastically backs the Democratic candidacy of Kendrick Meek.

But it may hedge its bet by giving insiders the green light to work on the Crist campaign as well.

The administration's ambivalence stems in part from Meek's strong support during the 2008 campaign for Obama's chief rival, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Crist, by contrast, literally embraced President Obama and his economic stimulus proposals.

Many believe that killed Crist's chances of getting the GOP senate nomination over conservative insurgent Marco Rubio, a former speaker of Florida's House.

The White House's political calculation is complicated by the fact that Crist has not promised to caucus with Democrats if he wins election in November.
Lukewarm White House support for Meek could provoke a backlash from Democratic activists in Florida, as well as Meek's friends in the Congressional Black Caucus.

Rubio will face off against Crist and the Democratic nominee in a three-way race in November.

Eric Johnson, a Democratic political consultant who was chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., told the Journal that the White House and other top Democrats are focused on defeating Rubio no matter what.

"But it's not clear whether Kendrick Meek or Charlie Crist is the man to beat Rubio," Johnson said.

John Morgan, an Orlando-area Democrat who has been advising Crist, said of the White House, "I don't think they're going to put a bunch of money behind Kendrick Meek."

Meek trails in the polls. The latest Mason-Dixon poll shows Crist leading with 38 percent, Rubio with 32 percent, and only 19 percent of Florida voters supporting Meek. Crist actually beat Meek among Florida Democrats.

One of the big wild cards in the race is Wexler, who remains very popular in the traditional Democratic strongholds of Palm Beach and Broward counties.
Florida political analyst Brian Crowley told the Journal: "If Robert Wexler decides to support Crist in the Senate race, it will be difficult for Kendrick Meek to win a significant chunk of South Florida Jewish votes. Without them, Meek will be in serious trouble."

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