Former Republican Crist dropped out of the GOP primary, fearing a whipping by Tea Party-backed Marco Rubio.
Penn, who was Bill and Hilary Clinton’s pollster, is abandoning Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek, who faces a tough primary challenge from California billionaire Jeff Greene. Meek campaigned for Hillary Clinton in her race against Barack Obama and President Clinton has been stumping in the Sunshine State for Meek.
Penn and his wife, Nancy Jacobson, are feting Crist at their Washington home (PDF of invite). They are asking for the maximum contribution of $4,800 per-person.
Individuals can donate $2,400 for the primary and $2,400 for the general election. Political action committees are asked to kick in the $10,000 maximum. Valet parking is available for the one hour and half reception beginning at 6 p.m.
The politically shrewd Penn is backing a winner. Crist is beating Rubio and either Democrat in three-way polls. Rubio beats both Dems. Penn is betting that moderate Crist is going to caucus with Democrats if he wins the election. He would be the Joe Lieberman of the South for the Democrats.
That's better than losing a Senate seat to libertarian Rubio, whose victory would be a major psychological boost for the Tea Partiers, while a trouncing by Crist would signal their demise.