Ron DeSantis adds $1.5 million for gubernatorial bid - Florida Politics

Ron DeSantis adds $1.5 million for gubernatorial bid

Northeast Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis brought in more than $1.5 million last month for his campaign to replace termed-out Gov. Rick Scott.

DeSantis’ supporting committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, took in $1 million of that sum, while his campaign account added $532,000. Only Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, in his best-ever fundraising month, outraised DeSantis in March.

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The committee received 39 contributions during the reporting period, though just four donors accounted for more than half of its receipts.

At the top of the report is a $250,000 check from Boca Raton’s Elaine Wold, a philanthropist who this week also gave $25 million to help Boca Raton Regional Hospital add a new patient tower. The Wold family had already pitched in $200,000 to DeSantis’ campaign prior to March.

The committee finance report also showed three checks at the $100,000 level, one each from Houston philanthropist and Jeb Bush booster Hushang Ansary, Jupiter businessman Lawrence DeGeorge and Charles B. Johnson, a Palm Beach billionaire who owns the San Francisco Giants.

Private prison company GEO Group and investment group Spence General Partnership checked in at $50,000 each, followed by a slew of smaller checks, 17 of which were for $10,000 or more.

The campaign side brought in a whopping 3,620 contributions – 2,335 from within the Sunshine State. The top sheet showed more than three dozen checks for the statewide campaign maximum of $3,000, while thousands more came in at the small-dollar level of $250 or less.

Spending totaled about $310,077 between the two accounts, with the committee share clocking in at $121,000.

Committee expenses included more than $60,000 in payments to Orlando-based Parabellum Strategies, mainly for “messaging services,” followed by $25,000 to Tallahassee-based Ello Creative for advertising work and $19,000 to NYC-based Park Avenue Assets for fundraising consulting.

Topping the campaign’s March outflow were nearly $93,000 in payments to Maryland-based Image Direct for direct mail. Credit card fees levied by CampaignContributions.com also accounted for a significant share of the expenses.

DeSantis has now raised just shy of $7 million, though $2 million of that cash was transferred in from DeSantis’ old political committee. He had $6.5 million on hand between the two accounts on March 31.

Putnam, currently the only other major Republican in the race, still holds a commanding lead in the overall money race. After adding $2.26 million in March brought his to-date total $26.77 million, with $19.26 million on hand.

Overall, DeSantis is in the third-place spot in fundraising behind Putnam and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, a Democrat who has raised about $11 million.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is expected to join Putnam and DeSantis in the primary in the coming weeks. He’s raised $6.8 million so far via his political committee, Watchdog PAC, and has $2.2 million on hand.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.
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