Charlie Crist's grand entrance into the governor's race occured Monday morning and there's sure to be a lot of analysis and speculation about how Crist will fare against incumbent GOP Gov. Rick Scott.
But lost in the flurry of analysis - and the constant public relations barrage from the Republican Party of Florida dissecting Crist's lengthy political career - is that there is one big change that has happened that could impact Crist's campaign for governor.
And that of course is that this year the Republican-led Legislature - instigated primarily by House Speaker Will Weatherford - did a major overhaul of the state's campaign finance laws.
This past Friday key portions of that overhaul - higher campaign limits - kicked in.
From now on, candidates in statewide races can collect up to $3,000 from each individual contributor _ or six times more than the previous limit of $500.
But what legislators did not alter was Florida's public campaign financing system. That's the system that allows candidates for statewide office to get matching funds from taxpayers for contributions they receive.
Crist has relied on public matching money in the past, collecting $3.3 million in his successful 2006 run for governor.
One could argue that what legislators did, however, was sharply dilute the impact of public financing in such a way that might make it meaningless going forward.
Under the law candidates get contributions that either double - or matched equally - the amount of money they received from certain contributors (The prime qualifications being that the contributor is a Florida resident and a real person as opposed to a Florida-based corporation.)
But when legislators changed the law they left the current amount candidates receive in matching money unchanged.
That means the most that Crist could get from the state is $500 in matching funds for each eligible contributor who donates money.
The way it works is that candidates get a two-for-one match for every contribution up to $250 that is part of what is called the "threshold" to be eligible for public financing. The threshold for candidates for governor is $150,000. Then candidates get a one to one match _ with a maximum of $250 _ on the remaining eligible contributions.
Yet there's another catch here: Candidates who wish to receive public campaign funding must agree to abide by campaign expenditure limits. During the 2014 campaign the limit according to the Division of Elections is $25 million.
Scott, who did not collect public financing last time because he used more than $70 million of his own money, is of course not going to abide by these limits. He's already publicly proclaimed his intention to spend collect and spend tens of millions on his re-election effort. (Note: Scott also successfully sued to strike a key portion of the law that gives extra money to a candidate opposed by someone who exceeds the spending cap.)
Under the wording of the law Crist can also exceed the $25 million cap but only after the non-participating candidate "exceeds" the expenditure limit.
Note the word there - once the "candidate" - exceeds the limit. That means the official campaign account of Gov. Scott. It does not mean Let's Get to Work, his 527 that has already collected $18 million since the summer of 2011 and is going up with its first ad buy this week.
There are also ways the Republican Party of Florida can assist Scott as well that would not count toward the total.
It's therefore conceivable _ although slightly improbable _ that Scott's official campaign could never hit the cap because of all the heavy lifting done elsewhere.
Now, was this all done by design?
Sen. Jack Latvala, the Pinellas County Republican and chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, said no. He said that the potential impact of public financing didn't even come up during the work on the overhaul.
"You tend to forget it's even on the books,'' Latvala said.
The question, however, for Crist is whether or not the strings and limitations associated with the law will be worth it.
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink during her closely contested race against Scott opted not to accept public financing out of concern that Scott would attack her for using taxpayer money for her campaign. After losing by roughly 60,000 votes there was a lot of after-the-fact speculation that the $4 million she was eligible for could have helped close the gap with Scott.
Today of course none of this matters. But it could matter next year when Crist will be scrambling for every dollar in an effort to keep up the large amounts of money Scott and the Republicans will spend to keep the governor's mansion.