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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Clinton fires up Florida Democrats, who face a big election-year challenge

Charlie Crist and Bill Clinton together Saturday night

Scott Keeler | Times

Charlie Crist and Bill Clinton together Saturday night



For the first time in two decades, Florida Democrats are likely to field a gubernatorial candidate well known across the state. Charlie Crist is breaking Democratic fundraising records and taking on an incumbent who is among the most unpopular and vulnerable governors in the country.

But even as former President Bill Clinton fired up 1,600 party activists and donors Saturday night at a swank, ocean-front hotel in South Florida, Democrats in America's biggest battleground state faced a bleak reality: Election Day in four months could pull their already beleaguered party to a new low.

If Crist unseats Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Nov. 4, nothing else matters much because holding Florida's top office would mean a dramatic improvement in the party's ability to raise money and rebuild.

The party is poised to bet its future on a lifelong Republican.

Underscoring the goal, his campaign made sure to liberally distribute Crist stickers and signs. Fortune cookies at dinner held the message "Charlie Crist is in your future!"

But the star power Saturday night was Clinton's. Story here.

[Last modified: Saturday, June 28, 2014 10:02pm]


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