Gallagher supporter now backs ex-classmate, Crist
By ALEX LEARY, ADAM C. SMITH and STEVE BOUSQUET
Published October 1, 2006
Talk about party unity.
Dozens of prominent Tampa Bay names appear on the invitation to a Sept. 26 fundraiser for Charlie Crist's campaign for governor hosted by businessman Stuart Lasher and his wife, Kelly. But one name caught our eye: Clif Curry is listed as a member of the founders' group for the event, which offered access to a VIP reception and photo op with Crist for the tidy sum of $50,000.
That would be lawyer Clif Curry, the former president of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce and classmate of Crist's at Florida State University who was mentioned in the Sept. 17 Times article as a Tom Gallagher supporter who acknowledged getting the affidavits in which Crist denied paternity of Rebecca O'Dell Townsend's baby in 1989. Curry said he shared the documents with others, but did not give copies to reporters.
BY THE NUMBERS: Jim Davis is picking up speed with fundraising, but he's still chasing the train that is Crist. Davis gathered nearly $183,000 in the Sept. 16-22 reporting period. Crist raised $750,000. That leaves Crist with $2.5-million cash on hand, compared with Davis' $560,000. Davis' campaign said he had a successful run this past week, including an event Saturday night in Miami with John Kerry.
Reform Party gubernatorial candidate Max Linn raised $1,400.
In the race for chief financial officer, Republican Tom Lee raised $59,000 in the same week, while Democrat Alex Sink gathered $117,000.
In the attorney general contest, Democrat Walter "Skip" Campbell raised $112,000 while Republican Bill McCollum pulled in about $133,000.
MOVE OVER, KATHERINE: The race to succeed Katherine Harris has suddenly become one of the hottest congressional races in the country, with Democrat Christine Jennings apparently having a real shot against Vern Buchanan in the strongly Republican district. A key question: Will Buchanan reach more heavily into his own pocket and kick into play the McCain-Feingold "millionaire's amendment"? That would allow Jennings to take in much bigger checks. Buchanan, taping an interview for today's Political Connections on Bay News 9, said he wouldn't discuss such strategy questions. Some Democrats whisper that Buchanan has already reached that threshold and will pay a fine later, rather than file the required notice now and help Jennings. But Buchanan's treasurer is Nancy Watkins, a stickler for following the rules, so that doesn't ring true.
The Jennings and Buchanan interviews can be seen at 11 a.m. today on Bay News 9. The program can also been seen later on Channel 342 (Bay News 9 on Demand).
MAYBE THIS GUY DAVIS CAN WIN: When New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, talked to reporters about his party's prospects in November, Florida was shown in red, indicating Crist would win if the election were held then. But Richardson said Davis is "a moderate-conservative Democrat" who stands a good chance of winning the seat. Asked what the party would be doing to help Davis, Richardson said, "We're going to make Florida a priority."
WELL, MAYBE NOT: Two polls released Tuesday showed Crist with a commanding lead over Davis. The Florida Chamber of Commerce poll, taken Sept. 21-22, had Crist by 14 points. A Mason-Dixon poll had Crist up by 15 points.
MORE HELP FOR THE D's: Democratic Virginia Gov. Mark Warner zips through Florida Wednesday, raising money for the state Democratic Party in Tallahassee, and Phyllis Busansky and the Hillsborough Democratic Executive Committee in Tampa. Then comes Illinois Sen. Barack Obama two days later in Miami to raise money for the party and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
FREE FALLIN'? MAYBE, MAYBE NOT: Last week, unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rod Smith suggested he might attend Tom Petty's homecoming concert in Gainesville instead of a Democratic Executive Committee dinner down the road, where Jim Davis' running mate, Daryl Jones, was to speak.
Smith, in fact, did not show for dinner, but did he rock out? "You have no evidence of anything, and the DNA is inconclusive," he joked when asked by the Buzz after Tuesday's Democratic unity event in Gainesville. "Nice try."
ABOUT THE MARK FOLEY STORY: Lots of questions have been asked about how the how the story about South Florida congressman unfolded. For a fuller account of how the St Petersburg Times pursued it, go online to blogs.tampabay.com/buzz and look for "A Note from the Editors."