Matt Caldwell raised more than $700,000 ahead of the the 2017 Legislative Session, building up his coffers ahead of an anticipated 2018 run for Agriculture Commissioner.
State records show Friends of Matt Caldwell, the North Fort Myers Republican’s political committee, raised $412,075 in February. That one-month fundraising haul marked the largest fundraising raising period since August 2016, according to state campaign finance records.
The committee raised $66,000 in January. And according to contributions posted to the committee’s website, Caldwell raised another $224,980 between March 2 and March 6. All told, the committee raised about $703,000 between Jan. 1 and March 6.
“I am deeply honored by the broad support we have received,” he said in a statement. “We far exceeded our pre-session goals.”
Caldwell, the chairman of the Government Accountability Committee, told FloridaPolitics.com in February that he intended to file to run for Agriculture Commissioner in August. That decision is meant to honor a request from House Speaker Richard Corcoran that members of his leadership team hold off filing to run for higher office until after the legislative session.
Caldwell isn’t the only 2018 Agriculture Commissioner hopeful posting big numbers. Sen. Denise Grimsley, who filed to run in February for the seat being vacated by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, raised $735,000 between her Feb. 1 announcement and March 7, the first day of the 2017 Legislative Session.
The Sebring Republican brought $295,000 for her official campaign and $440,00 for her political committee, Saving Florida’s Heartland.
“Denise is so very honored by the support she received in these first 35 days, and while she is working during the Session to represent her constituents and work for a greater Florida, her campaign team will focus on the road ahead to the primary,” said David Johnson, who is serving as the general consultant to Grimsley’s campaign.
Putnam can’t run again because of term limits; however, the Bartow Republican is widely believed to be gearing up for a 2018 gubernatorial bid.