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Democrats quietly line up in Charlie Crist’s corner

in Statewide/The Bay and the 'Burg by

You may never have heard of Peggy Land, unless you’re a Tampa Democratic political insider.

She’s a proverbial little old lady in tennis shoes, but along with her late husband John, she has also been a faithful Democratic political donor – some $20,000 to the party and its candidates over the last decade or so, plus more from fundraisers in their home, and none to Republicans.

So who is Land backing in the U.S. Senate race?

Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican running as a no-party candidate.

She has donated to Democrat Kendrick Meek but says the same thing some other Democrats statewide are starting to say: Crist looks increasingly like their best chance of defeating Republican Marco Rubio.

“I don’t think there’s really any other choice. I don’t think Kendrick is going to be able to do much better than he’s doing now,” Land said last week, while attending yet another Democratic fundraiser, for attorney general candidate Dan Gelber.

“All my friends are very much opposed to Marco Rubio and what he stands for,” she said. “Charlie has his heart in the right place.”

Land isn’t a big political name, but Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish is. Last week it created a shock wave when Parrish, godmother of Democratic politics in the state’s biggest Democratic county, hosted a fundraiser for Crist.

A dozen other prominent Broward Democrats co-hosted, including state Rep. Ari Porth of Coral Springs – the only Democratic legislator to break ranks and back Crist openly, except state Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, a former Republican and longtime Crist ally. 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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