Charlie Crist opening his campaign's first field office in Broward (updated and updated again)

Original post | 2:22 p.m. April 11

Updated | 10:31 a.m. April 12 and 11:35 a.m. April 18

Showing just how important a strong Democratic showing in Broward County is to Charlie Crist’s hope of returning to the Governor’s Mansion, the first field office for his campaign is set for Planation.

The campaign plans to dedicate the office next week.


Hollywood Doggie Beach Pictures

What’s being described as the South Florida headquarters will be located in Plantation.

Update one: The grand opening, originally scheduled for Tuesday, is now Saturday, April 19 at 12:30 p.m.

Update two: The Crist campaign has corrected the address. It's at 302 S. University Drive.

The only other Crist office so far is the state headquarters in St. Petersburg.

Broward, which has more registered Democrats than any other Florida county is critical for the party’s hopes to win a statewide election. A Democrat needs a big victory in Broward to offset Republican strongholds elsewhere in Florida.

President Barack Obama achieved that during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, but the 2010 Democratic campaign for governor, Alex Sink, was criticized for spending little time in the county – a move that Crist and his advisers have said repeatedly their candidate wouldn’t repeat in 2014.

Crist has said for months that he intends to spend lots of time in Broward – so much time that he’s rented an apartment in Fort Lauderdale. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Crist announced the apartment rental Thursday night during a speech to Democratic state representatives in Tallahassee.

“We are committed to having the boots on the ground to make [victory] happen and that starts in Broward County,” Crist said in a statement.

The campaign manager, Omar Kahn, added: “We are a metrics and data driven campaign. A huge part of that will be our grassroots field operation. Broward County is critically important to Governor Crist, so we’re excited to get started there."

Broward is also the home base of Crist’s primary opponent, former Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich of Weston.

Rich is far behind in the polls and struggled to raise enough money for a competitive campaign. Both Crist, the former Republican governor running for his old job, and Republican Gov. Rick Scott have focused all their efforts on each other, all but ignoring Rich.