Former Gov. Charlie Crist (left) and former Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller at the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood

Former Gov. Charlie Crist (left) and former Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller at the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood on Friday. (Anthony Man / March 1, 2013)

Updated | 2:58 p.m.

Key players in Charlie Crist's first fundraising effort could form a high-powered Democratic law firm.

Besides Mitchell Berger, Steve Geller and Andrew Weinstein, Geller said others helping raise money for the event are lawyer-lobbyists John Milledge, Mike Moskowitz, Stephanie Toothaker, lobbyist Russ Klenet and his spouse, County Commissioner Stacy Ritter.

Original post | 12:20 p.m.

When Charlie Crist stepped back onto the political stage on Monday, some of his biggest supporters weren’t there.

As Crist made the announcement everyone knew was coming for months – that he’s seeking to regain his old job in his new party – Andrew Weinstein was working the phones, scrambling to start raising the money Crist will need to succeed.

Crist’s first fundraising event as a newly minted candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor is Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale. Put together fast, it’s aimed at raising some quick cash.

It was put together so fast that the invitation being emailed Monday doesn’t even list members of the host committee. People become members of the host committee need to raise $20,000. The general reception is $3,000 a person.

For now, and the foreseeable future, fundraising is the campaign’s No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 priorities. And the Democratic strongholds of South Florida will be a key part in the most vital phase of the campaign now that it’s official.

The reception is at the Fort Lauderdale home of one of the Democratic Party’s major fundraisers, lawyer Mitchell Berger, who often raises money for presidential candidates.

Co-hosting the event is Weinstein, a Coral Springs lawyer who was a major fundraiser for President Barack Obama. Weinstein is also finance chairman for the Florida Democratic Party.

Former Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller, D-Cooper City, also a Broward lawyer and friend of Crist’s since their days at Florida State University, is also involved with the event.

Also helping raise money for the event, Geller said, are lawyer-lobbyists John Milledge, Mike Moskowitz, Stephanie Toothaker, lobbyist Russ Klenet and his spouse, County Commissioner Stacy Ritter.