Is Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist having a harder time fundraising than generally understood?

The once and possibly future governor sent out a fundraising pitch Wednesday afternoon saying that he "quite literally" needs the money to be able to pay the rent.

All political fundraising pitches are calculated to create a sense of urgency, of course, and often use a fair amount of artistic license to do this. Even so, the one sent out by Crist's team Wednesday was unusually stark, saying that the campaign could become homeless if donations were not made.

"We're doing things like buying TV air time for the fall, and putting together hiring budgets for our organizers. This isn't money that gets spent now — this is money that determines whether we can (quite literally) pay rent in October," the message said. At press time, the campaign had not responded to a request for comment.

Crist is running in a tight race against incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Who is leading varies from poll to poll. rates the race a tossup but currently gives Crist a slim edge.

Money has been an issue for Crist, though. Scott has raised about $24 million for his bid, compared to only $14 million by Crist. The Tampa Bay Times reported last week that Scott currently has an $8 million advantage, though that will erode once Crist begins to receive the state matching funds he has applied for, starting with $1 million sometime this week. Scott opposes public financing.

Crist was Republican governor from 2007-11, but renounced the party after trailing in a GOP Senate primary to Marco Rubio in 2010. He then became an independent third party candidate in the general election, still losing to Rubio. He later joined the Democrats in 2012.