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Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, hugs Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, on the Senate floor after Bradley's Workers’ Compensation Insurance bill passed Friday, May 5, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo by Phil Sears)

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Early start: Northeast Florida 2020 fundraising begins

The political cycle never truly ends and no sooner had the 2018 elections wrapped before Northeast Florida Republican candidates and committees began raking in 2020 funds.

The numbers aren’t eyepopping, but with power increasingly concentrating in the GOP-dominant region, they are worth watching.

Working for Florida’s Families, the political committee of budget chair Sen. Rob Bradley, saw $35,000 in November post-election receipts from three principals.

Correct Care Solutions, a Tennessee-based company contracted by the state to provide in-patient mental health services, ponied up $10,000. Calder Race Course, the South Florida gambling concern whose President is on Governor-elect Ron DeSantis‘ economic advisory committee, also gave $10,000.

At the $15,000 level: George Hackney, better known as a principal cultivator for medical cannabis magnate Trulieve.

Bradley has been a consistent ally of the medical cannabis industry in Florida under the current vertical integration model, and has advocated (like many Republicans) for the rescheduling of cannabis on the federal level.

Bradley’s committee wasn’t the only one taking checks early.

State Rep. Paul Renner, poised to be Speaker beginning in 2022, also banked via his Florida Foundation for Liberty committee.

Renner represents Palm Coast, but much of his base is in Jacksonville, as reflected by $15,000 in checks from Tom Petway and Florida Blue, two pillars of the Duval establishment.

Most campaign accounts remained fallow for 2020. One exception: Sen. Travis Hutson, the St. Johns County mainstay who is vying for leadership of his caucus in 2022.

Hutson brought in $4,000 from contributors largely in his district. His two political committees, First Coast Business Foundation and Sunshine State Conservatives, raised no money in November.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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