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Top Democratic Fundraiser Helping Open D.C. Wallets for Crist

National Democratic fundraiser Nancy Jacobson organized a conference call last week to promote Charlie Crist’s Senate bid, providing further evidence of the Florida governor’s effort to court support in Democratic circles for his Independent campaign.

The invitation to the Friday morning call was distributed in Democratic lobbying and donor circles.

Crist faces the challenge of amassing the funds necessary to compete in the November election; he has no personal fortune to draw from and no formal party structure backing his campaign. After bolting the Republican Party earlier this year, Crist is hoping he can raise big dollars from Democratic donors who may not be enthused by their party’s top candidates: Rep. Kendrick Meek and wealthy businessman Jeff Greene.

Florida papers reported Thursday that a recent Crist fundraiser in Tallahassee was hosted by former Democratic state House Speaker T.K. Wetherell and other prominent state Democrats.

“I can assure you that this call will provide you with an opportunity to know the Governor of Florida better, and I am certain you will end up realizing that he is one of the most promising national leaders of our generation,” Jacobson, who served as finance chairwoman at the Democratic National Committee under President Bill Clinton, wrote in an e-mail obtained by Roll Call.

Jacobson is married to Mark Penn, who has served as a top pollster and adviser to both Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Meek operatives said the call should not be construed as a sign that Meek might be losing support within Clinton circles. Bill Clinton has been a top supporter of Meek’s since the Congressman announced he was running for Senate early in the cycle. The former president has hosted five fundraisers for Meek.

One Meek operative said Clinton will release his second e-mail fundraising solicitation for the Congressman on Friday and has plans to appear at public rallies for Meek later this summer ahead of Florida’s late August primary.

Neither Jacobson nor Crist’s campaign spokeswoman returned a request for comment about the fundraising call.

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