Orignal post at 1:57 p.m.
Updated below with examples of vintage Crist.
The 320 or so people on hand for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon to install a new slate of board members is a slightly bigger crowd than usual.
Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober attributed some of the interest to the main speaker: Former Gov. Charlie Crist.
The Republican turned Democrat is widely assumed to be angling for a 2014 gubernatorial run, and there’s was hunger to hear what he has to say.
Among those present are Bober, state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, state Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood, and Alex Lewy, Hallandale Beach commissioner and possible candidate for state representative.
Former officials include former Attorney General and former Broward Sheriff Bob Butterworth, former Sheriff Al Lamberti, and former state Rep. Evan Jenne (and candidate for state representative next year). Jenne is the son of former Sheriff Ken Jenne. He’s sitting one table over from Lamberti.
Crist was brought from the airport by former Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller, D-Cooper City. Though Crist was a Republican when Geller was in Tallahassee, they developed a close bond.
Entering the ballroom at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Geller was carrying Crist’s carry on bag. (I asked Geller about that; he said Crist carried it till they got to the door of the ballroom when Crist wanted to have his hands free for hand shaking.) After the event, Crist toted his own bag.
A broad spectrum of political people was on hand including: Mitch Ceasar, chairman of the Broward Democratic Party; Karin Hoffman of Lighthouse Point, founder of the tea party group DC Works for Us; Justin Sayfie, the Fort Lauderdale attorney (who grew up in Hollywood) who was a top aide to former Gov. Jeb Bush and publishes the SayfieReview political web site; and Jack Shifrel, an area leader for the Democratic Party.
I’ve undoubtedly missed plenty.
It was vintage Crist. He praised many of the politicians in the room.
Former Attorney General and former Broward Sheriff Bob Butterworth, who served as Crist’s secretary of children and families, “is a son of Broward and a wonderful man” in addition to being “the finest attorney general in Florida’s history.”
Former Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller, D-Cooper City, who attended Florida State University when Crist was there “has been a great friend forever…. He’s always had a kind heart and a great soul; and a much smarter mind than I could ever hope to have.”
Mayor Peter Bober “is doing a tremendous job.”
State Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, Crist said, is whatever the female word for mensch is in Yiddish.
Broward Democratic Chairman Mitch Caesar got thanks “for your kindness to both me and my wife. I really appreciate it and look forward to many good times ahead.