Edging closer to a Democratic candidacy for governor, Charlie Crist spent the past couple of days renewing ties with party activists in Broward and Palm Beach counties -- places where Democrats need high turnouts and lots of enthusiasm if they are to have a prayer of winning in 2014. As an unsuccessful independent U.S. Senate candidate in 2012, Crist carried both counties, though his margin in Palm Beach was a mere 3,000 votes over Marco Rubio.
On the Gold Coast, Crist observed Rosh Hashana Wednesday with an old pal, former state Sen. Steve Geller. On Thursday, he held a luncheon with a group of African-American community leaders in Fort Lauderdale and went to a Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce gathering at the Broward convention center. Friday, Crist paid a call on former Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson. The Palm Beach Post's ever-observant George Bennett posted a hilarious tweet about a previous Crist/Aaronson sighting in June. Can't you just picture it?
Aaronson endorsed Crist for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Geller and Crist go way, way back, to their days together at Florida State University, and Geller, a lawyer, lost his last race for public office, for a Broward County Commission seat in 2012.
"I think that in order to mount an effective race, you've got to have time, and by the fall, I'll reach a conclusion," Crist said.
He said if he does run, he's considering copying the strategy of his possible opponent, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who raises campaign money through an electioneering campaign organizatuion (ECO) that cannot directly advocate a candidate's election but is exempt from contribution limits. Scott is collecting cash in increments of $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 and more. Said Crist: "You have to look at all options if you want to run an effective campaign."
-- Steve Bousquet