Even in Turbulent Times, State Digs Deep for Crist

In an era of unprecedented financial insecurity for the state that Charlie Crist governs, the aspiring U.S. senator achieved an unprecedented financial windfall. During his campaign's most recent quarter, he raised $4.3 million.

That combination isn't lost on Adam Smith, political editor of the St. Petersburg Times. He muses:

Just think what Crist could do for Florida's budget shortfall next year if he hit the fundraising circuit again for general revenue.

An unsubtle jab at Crist's tendency to place his personal political ambitions above the priorities of the state, but fundraising for a campaign and fundraising for state programs are two altogether different tasks. It's not just that  the millions that make a campaign are far away from the billions that the state needs. Rather, it's that Crist's campaign donors recognize that the investment is a reliable way to secure future access to Florida's most likely senator.

If you really think about it, Crist's fundraising totals are more likely a reflection of how the stresses of an economic downturn make business leaders and special interests even more desperate to make a friend in a high place. That, plus Crist's glorious poll numbers and his streak for keeping big business happy, makes him the most appealing political investment in the state, a reputation he didn't win by accident.

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