Charlie Crist faces the most-daunting of challenges in the governor's race: keeping at least half-way behind Gov. Rick Scott's money-spending rain-making juggernaut of a campaign effort.
Leading in the polls and better-liked, the former governor knows that the current governor has to greatly outspend Crist to redefine him successfully. So Crist likely needs to hold Scott to no more than a 2:1 advantage.
And since Rick Scott plans to spend as much as $100 million (through his committee, his campaign and the Republican Party of Florida), Crist wants to spend as much as $50 million.
Total cash on hand for Crist, between his campaign and political committee accounts: $3.9 million. Let's call that $4 million. That leaves a mere $46 million for him and Democrats to raise in the 278 days until the Nov. 4 Election Day (assuming he wins the Aug. 26 Democratic primary against Nan Rich, running since early 2012, who has only about $75,000 cash on hand in her campaign account as of the last reporting period that ended Dec. 31.)
So Crist and the Democrats need to start hauling in an average of about $165,467.63 daily. That includes weekends and holidays.
The flip side to all the challenges Democrats face: Scott's goal looks even more daunting at first.
Scott has about $24.6 million in his political committee’s bank. So he'd have to raise about $75 million more to hit $100 million. But Scott has the state Republican Party, which controls the Legislature and therefore the special interests seeking to curry favor, cranking up fundraising like never before. And, perhaps more importantly, Scott's independently wealthy.
After all, Scott spent $75.1 million of his own money in 2010.
So what's another $75 million -- especially if special interests pick up more of the tab than ever?