U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is sitting on more than $646,000 in his federal campaign account for reelection to Florida’s 13th Congressional District in 2022, according to the latest financial filings with the Federal Elections Commission.
In the first quarter of 2021 covering Jan. 1 through March 31, Crist raised $347,188. After accounting for $120,000 in expenditures during that period, Crist grew his federal account by about $227,000.
Crist is so far unopposed for reelection next year, but that’s almost certain to change, especially with reapportionment after the 2020 census expected to alter district boundaries, potentially skewing Crist’s existing district more to the right.
Crist first won election to the seat in 2016 against then-incumbent and then-Republican David Jolly. That victory came only after a court-ordered redistricting shuffled the district boundaries to include parts of South St. Petersburg and downtown, heavily democratic areas that gave Democrats a slight advantage. Before Crist’s victory, the seat had been under GOP control for more than six decades.
If the latest round of redistricting shifts boundaries north, more Republicans could be included, meaning Crist’s stronghold in the now-light blue district could be under threat.
His fundraising now, even before a challenger has emerged, is important not only to eventually defend his seat, but to support a possible run for Governor, which Crist, a former Republican Governor, has not ruled out.
Under Florida election law, Crist cannot directly transfer funds from his federal campaign account to a state account, but he could pass the money along to the Florida Democratic Party, which could then use the funds to aid him in a possible gubernatorial bid.
The loophole allows Crist to continue aggressively fundraising while still keeping his options open.
Crist received significant support from a variety of political committees in his first-quarter fundraising, including from telecommunications companies, solar interests and labor unions.
He received $3,000 from the AT&T Federal PAC, $1,000 from the Charter Communications PAC and $1,000 from the T-Mobile PAC. Banking interests also donated big, with checks totaling $2,500 from the Mortgage Bankers Association, $5,000 from the Regions Financial Corp. PAC, $1,000 from the Fifth Third PAC and $1,500 from the American Bankers Association PAC.
The pro-Solar SolarPAC contributed $5,000, with the Sunpower Corp. PAC kicking in $1,000 and Vivant Solar PAC donating $500.
Group’s associated with postal services also ponied up, with donations totaling $1,000 from the American Postal Workers PAC, $2,500 from the National Association of Letter Carriers and $1,000 from the American Postal Workers Union Committee on Political Action.
Union contributors kicking in $1,000 or more each included the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Political Action League, the Cubic Corporation Employee’s PAC, AFSME, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and others.
Other notable contributors included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s committee, $4,000; Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Democrats Win Seats committee, $1,000; the Blue Dog PAC, $3,000; PAC to the Future, $5,000; the American Medical Association PAC, $1,000; National Beer Wholesalers Association, $2,500; Deloitte, $2,500; Rolls-Royce North America Holdings PAC, $2,000; Publix Supermarkets Associates PAC, $6,000; the Home Depot PAC, $2,500, the Mosaic Company PAC, $1,000; and Jacobs Engineering Group Committee, $5,000.
Crist’s largest donation in the first quarter came from $10,000 in total contributions from the U.S. Sugar Employees Stock Ownership PAC.
Local Democratic political consultant and lobbyist, Ana Cruz, donated $1,000.
Crist easily won reelection in 2018 against Republican challenger George Buck with 57% of the vote. But he saw his victory margin narrow last year, earning just 53% of the vote over GOP challenger Anna Paulina Luna’s 47%.