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Legislators rush to raise campaign cash ahead of early, long session

It's a fund-raising frenzy out there.

Lawmakers have until the day before session to solicit campaign dollars, per legislative rules. But session this year gets an early start on Jan. 10, and with redistricting lines to settle it could go on for months and, if the courts get involved as expected, more months. 

With an indefinite dead period of fund-raising ahead, they're scrambling to shore up their campaign accounts now. For evidence look no further than the first committee week (Sept. 19-23), where no less than 15 fund-raisers are planned at downtown Tallahassee establishments.

Here's a taste:
  • Democratic Reps. Scott Randolph of Orlando, Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg, Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach and Richard Steinberg of Miami Beach have a re-election fund-raiser planned at Andrews 228 on Sept. 20.
  • The Florida Retail Federation will host a reception on Monday for GOP Senate candidates Rep. Denise Grimsley of Sebring and former Reps. Bill Galvano and Aaron Bean. The federation will host separate events for Rep. Doug Broxson of Gulf Breeze on Sept. 20 and Rep. Jim Frishe of St. Petersburg on Sept. 21.
  • A Florida Association of Realtors reception on Sept. 20 will benefitReps. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, Marti Coley, R-Marianna, and Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland.
  • Reps. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, and Ron Saunders, D-Key West, will be at the Governor's Club on Sept. 20. In a different room at the Governor's Club will be fellow Democratic Reps. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, and Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek.
  • At nearby Clyde's and Costello's Sept. 20 is a reception for GOP Rep. Matt Hudson of Naples.
  • The Governor's Club will stay busy through Sept. 21 for Reps. Fred Costello, R-DeLand, Bill Hager,R-Boca Raton, and Larry Metz, R-Yalaha.

Here's a few of the other fund-raiser/high-profile sporting events we've learned about:

  • Senate Democrats gathered in a luxury box at SunLife Stadium to watch the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots game on Monday.
  • There's a House Majority 2012 fund-raiser planned at The River Club in Jacksonville with a VIP and general reception for Sept. 15. This event has been canceled.
  • Senate Democratic leaders Nan Rich of Weston and Chris Smith of Oakland Park will host supporters on Sept. 25 for a New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox game in New York City. Tickets for the weekend start at $5,000.
  • And on Saturday night, as the No. 5 Seminoles face the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners, Senate Republican leaders Mike Haridopolos, Don Gaetz, Andy Gardiner, Joe Negron and John Thrasher will raise money for Senate Majority 2012.