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A diverse fundraiser signals Charlie Crist strategy

in Statewide by

It was a group rarely, if ever, seen together on Florida’s political money trail.

There was Pat Neal, former executive director of the Florida Christian Coalition, mingling near Barbara A. Zdravecky, the head of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

Nearby, former Sarasota Republican Party Chairman Bob Waechter chatted amiably at the appetizer table with the very Democrat, Shirley Brown, he worked to defeat four years earlier for School Board and has vowed to defeat this year.

In another corner of the beachfront estate, state Rep. Darryl Rouson, a Democrat, held court before a gaggle of Republican donors who have already written checks aimed at defeating Rouson’s fellow Democratic colleagues in the state Legislature.

“Isn’t it amazing?” Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said of the eclectic mix in the room at his first big political fundraiser in Sarasota since he abandoned the Republican Party to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent.

The event, attended by some of the area’s biggest donors, bridged the partisan gaps that Crist must show he can reach across to become the first independent candidate to win statewide office in Florida’s history. Continue reading here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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