The men who would be governor are racing against time to collect as much money as possible between now and Friday, when the fund-raising quarter ends. Political reality dictates that after the Fourth of July, there simply won't be as much time to solicit checks as the four major campaigns will shift into a 60-day sprint of media events, rallies, speeches, editorial board interviews and debates.
Republican Charlie Crist has an event Tuesday at the Tampa Airport Marriott where he has asked members of his finance committee to bring "a minimum of $5,000 in $500 checks to this intimate fundraising meeting." This is known as bundling, the rounding up of checks from spouses, business partners, in-laws, secretaries, co-workers, and so on. It's a practice Republicans blasted Lawton Chiles for in the '90s when the Democrat finessed his own self-imposed $100 limit, but it has become increasingly common as campaigns become ever more expensive.
"if you don't have people who can help you collect campaign contributions, you have a hard time getting your message out," Crist said. "It's the nature of the beat. I dare say everybody is trying to do it."
The Crist campaign declined to allow the St. Petersburg Times to attend, citing discussions of "fundraising strategy."