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Charlie Crist fundraiser in St. Pete targets young professionals

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Charlie Crist is looking to raise some dough in downtown St. Pete this week for his congressional bid against Eric Lynn. St. Pete business owner Jon La Budde along with attorney Julian Wood and his wife, Meghan, are hosting the former Governor at Reno Downtown Joint at 27 Fourth St. N.

The event is aimed toward young professionals. Though, a Facebook event page welcomes those young at heart as well.

Organizers are suggesting a $100 contribution from each person attending and $1,000 either raised or donated by committee members. They include Jeff Adams, Patrick and Alicia Brannon, Pete Boland, the Honorable Alan Brock, Mario and Susan Farias, Paul and  Hannah Gross, Sam Heller, Carey Kleinmetz, Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long, St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse, Anissa Raiford, Franco Ripple, Ashley Ligas, and Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.

Individual contributions are capped at $2,700. That number resets for the General Election.

As of the end of December Crist still had a bit of a funding gap to bridge against his rival Democrat. Lynn had raised more than $650,000 while Crist brought in just over a half million. However, Crist appeared to have the momentum with all of his contributions coming in between October and December. Lynn began raising funds in April giving him a funding jump on Crist.

The downtown fundraiser runs 6 to 7:30 p.m. The group is still looking for people to join Crist’s host committee. Information on how to do that or to RSVP to the event is on the Facebook event page.

According to that page 255 people have been invited. Just 23 indicated they were going with another 38 indicating they were interested.

Among those who plan to attend are Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, Gulfport mayoral candidate Barbara Banno and Crist’s sister, Catherine Kennedy.

Crist is running to replace David Jolly who now represents Congressional District 13. Jolly is not seeking re-election because he’s running for the U.S. Senate. The race to replace him became competitive for Democrats when the district was redrawn to favor Democrats.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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