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Adam Putnam pushes ‘Florida First’ message in new ad

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is out with a new TV spot, pushing his “Florida First” message as the GOP primary race for Governor nears a close.

The 30-second ad, titled “God’s Country,” features several iconic images of the state as Putnam narrates what he views as the strengths of the state.

“In Florida, anything is possible,” Putnam begins.

“We launched a man to the moon. Our beaches bring the world to our doorstep and our farms feed the nation. The sunshine is bright in Florida because this is God’s country.”

Putnam then pivots to his vision for Florida under his leadership.

“Together we’ll make Florida the launchpad for the American Dream, cutting taxes and keeping government out of our way; ensuring our kids are career-ready; and attracting new industries. For me, it will always be Florida First.”

Putnam’s positioning as the “Florida First” candidate is a subtle jab at his opponent for the Republican nomination, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis. The congressman has taken hits for focusing too much on national issues during the campaign.

That focus coincides with an endorsement from and strong defense of President Donald Trump.

Trump’s endorsement preceded a shift in the race according to the polling. Whereas Putnam led in many pre-endorsement polls, DeSantis has been ahead in more recent surveys.

Putnam has also seen a slowdown in funding to his campaign. Between July 28 and Aug. 3, DeSantis earned more than $1 million, while Putnam brought in just over $191,000.

The Florida primaries will be held Aug. 28.

Florida politicians react to Clearwater ‘Stand Your Ground’ arrest

Nearly a month after he fatally shot Markeis McGlocktonMichael Drejka was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Monday afternoon on charges of manslaughter.

Drejka, 47, last month started an argument with the 28-year-old McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, over her use of a handicapped spot in a convenience store parking lot. Upon exiting the store and noticing the argument, McGlockton rushed over and pushed Drejka to the ground.

Still on the ground, Dreika pulled a gun, fired, and killed McGlockton. Security camera footage from the convenience store appears to show McGlockton backing away from Drejka after he drew his weapon, but Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri chose not to arrest Drejka.

The sheriff, a law school grad, cited a 2017 change to the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law that required law enforcement to prove a shooter didn’t feel threatened before filing criminal charges.

That decision was met with uproar:

— McGlockton’s family demanded charges be filed,

— State Rep. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat, and Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon urged State Attorney Bernie McCabe to pursue the case,

— Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the shooting, as did the Clearwater/Upper Pinellas NAACP,

— Democratic candidate for Governor Andrew Gillum called on Gov. Rick Scott to suspend the law by executive order,

— Tampa Councilman Harry Cohen renewed his call for an outright repeal,

— National racial justice group Color of Change started a campaign to “Stop ‘Stand Your Ground’,”

— Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King delivered a fiery speech on the racial disparity in the use of “Stand Your Ground,” and

— Democratic lawmakers called for a Special Legislative Session, though the request failed along party lines.

Now that Drejka has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, numerous politicians — mostly Democrats — have released statements commenting on the length of time after the shooting, which took place July 19, whether the charges were strong enough, and reiterating their calls for a “Stand Your Ground” repeal.

Democratic Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw:

“This day is too long coming. Justice delayed is justice denied and we continue to seek justice for the McGlockton family and so many other families across this state. Stand Your Ground laws are wrong and have no place in a civilized society. Starting on day one as Attorney General, I will do everything in my power to force the legislature to repeal this terrible law. We look forward to Mr. Drejka receiving his day in court.”

King, an Orlando area businessman:

“The state attorney’s office is doing what Sheriff Gualtieri has failed to do thus far –– seeking justice for the death of Markeis McGlockton. This community is crying out for action and the McGlockton family deserves justice, and that’s why I’ve been calling for leaders to act since this tragedy occurred. Today’s decision is another example why Florida’s broken ‘stand your ground’ law must be repealed so that justice in this case and every other tragedy can never be delayed or denied.”

Fellow Democratic candidate for Governor, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham:

Gillum, currently the mayor of Tallahassee, repeated his call for Gov. Scott to suspend SYG:

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, also a Democratic candidate for Governor, said the family “deserves justice”:

The fifth Democratic candidate for Governor, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, said the following:

Neither of the two major Republicans running to replace Scott, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, commented on the arrest, nor did current Attorney General Pam Bondi or the two Republican candidates vying to succeed her, Pensacola state Rep. Frank White and former Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it supported the decision.

Jones, who represents Broward County’s HD 101, acknowledged the arrest via twitter:

Tampa Attorney Karen Skyers, a Democratic candidate for House District 61:

“I applaud the decision by the State Attorney’s Office to charge Michael Drejka in the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton,” Skyers said.

“As an attorney and an advocate, failure to prosecute would have been yet another rubber stamp on the use of “Stand Your Ground” as a license to kill, a situation that tragically occurs far too often in Florida.

“And while I’m encouraged by today’s news, it could have just as easily gone the other way. So long as this terrible law remains on the books, the people of Florida – especially people of color – remain especially at risk whenever an aggressor is spoiling for a fight and the last man standing is the only living witness.

“This is why change is needed. And this is why I continue to pledge that the very first bill I will file as the Representative for House District 61 is a repeal of this dangerous law.”

Denise Grimsley scores 32 endorsements from current and former lawmakers

Agriculture Commissioner candidate Denise Grimsley got the nod from a large contingency of her colleagues in the Florida Legislature Monday, adding another 32 backers just days after she announced three dozen endorsements from local elected officials from all corners of the Sunshine State.

Grimsley, a Sebring Republican, has been a member of the state Legislature since 2004, first as a member of the Florida House and, since 2012, as a member of the Florida Senate. She currently represents District 26, which covers all of DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties as well as parts of Charlotte, Lee and Polk counties.

The bulk nod included a baker’s dozen of backers who are currently serving alongside Grimsley: Sens. Dennis Baxley, Aaron Bean, Anitere Flores, George Gainer, Rene Garcia, Dorothy Hukill, Debbie Mayfield, David Simmons, Kelli Stargel and Reps. Sam Killebrew, Cary Pigman, Elizabeth Porter and Charlie Stone

The nine current senators announced today join incoming Senate President Bill Galvano and Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, making for half of the Republican Senators not named “Grimsley” backing her campaign. Grimsley’s chief rival in the Republican primary, Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell, has landed loads of support from his House colleagues, but has only earned one endorsement from a sitting Republican Senator: St. Pete Sen. Jeff Brandes.

Also adding their names to the pile were 19 former lawmakers, all but five of whom served alongside Grimsley for at least a couple years of her tenure in Tallahassee, including former House Speakers Allan Bense, Dean Cannon, Larry Cretul, H. Lee Moffitt; former Sens. Ellyn Bogdanoff, Charlie Dean, Pat Neal and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla; as well as former Reps. Kim Berfield, Marti Coley, Faye Culp, Frank Farkas, Mark Flanagan, James Frishe, Kurt Kelly, Dick Kravitz, Dave Murzin, Mark Ogles and Joseph Spratt.

“During my time in the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives, I have met or worked with many of these Senators and Representatives while serving our Sunshine State,” Grimsley said. “We have worked together to make this the best state in the nation to live, work and play; and, I am grateful for their support of my campaign.

“With my diverse background raising cattle, growing citrus, helping people, running a business and managing a budget, paired with my dedication to solving problems that face Florida, I know I am the most qualified and best candidate in this race; and, I look forward to the opportunity to continue my work serving Floridians as their Commissioner of Agriculture,” she said.

Grimsley has surged in endorsements over the past several weeks. Outside of the 66 endorsements she’s announced since Friday, she has the support of 36 current county sheriffs — seven Democratic and 29 Republican — as well as numerous statewide organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, Florida Professional Firefighter, Florida Realtors and the Florida Medical Association, among many others.

Caldwell and Grimsley are running alongside retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman in the Republican primary.

Through Aug. 3, Grimsley leads in true fundraising with $2.65 million in outside cash raised since she entered the race in February 2017. She also currently holds the cash lead with more than $1.1 million in the bank between her campaign account and two political committees, Saving Florida’s Heartland and Let’s Grow Florida.

Caldwell, meanwhile, has also broken the $2 million mark since entering the race in April 2017 and had a little over $1 million in the bank at last check-in.

Troutman, however, has pumped $3 million into his campaign fund and raised about $500,000, though his high burn rate has left him with just $322,500 on hand as of Aug. 3. McCalister, for his part, has raised just $22,604, including nearly $19,000 in candidate loans.

The winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary will move on to November when they’ll face one of three Democrats: Nikki FriedJeffrey Porter or Roy David Walker.

Economists find good news for schools, bad news for Medicaid

State economists on Monday found millions of extra dollars for the state’s public schools, but also a $29 million shortfall in takings from tobacco taxes and a landmark legal settlement with the tobacco companies.

The Revenue Estimating Conference projected that $128.4 million would remain unspent at the end of this fiscal year within the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund and the State School Trust Fund, financed primarily through Florida Lottery proceeds, slot machine taxes in South Florida, and proceeds from the sale of unclaimed property.

That means the Legislature will start out in the black when setting school spending priorities for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, said Amy Baker, coordinator for the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

“It’s nonrecurring, but it’s a boost for schools,” Baker said. “It’s more than they expected, right from the get-go.”

On the other hand, the outlook for Medicaid — the primary recipient of the tobacco money — “is not good news,” she added. “It’s showing that they actually have a projected hard deficit.”

Medicaid is the joint state-federal health care program for the poor. “So, good news for education, not good news for Medicaid,” Baker said.

The economists warned of the problem last week, blaming it on a decline in tobacco use and a shift to vaping products that remain untaxed in Florida.

Moreover, R.J. Reynolds is in court contesting its obligation to continue payments under a 1998 legal settlement in light of its sale of cigarette brands to Imperial Tobacco Group.

The group has spent most of August reviewing its revenue forecasts, and planned to huddle again on Thursday to sign off on a projection for the General Revenue Fund, the main source of money to build a state budget besides trust funds.

By the numbers: Voter registration tops 13 million

Some will vote by mail. Some will vote early. Some will go old-school and vote on the actual election day. Some won’t vote at all.

But slightly more than 13 million Floridians are registered to vote in advance of the Aug. 28 primary elections, according to new figures posted online by the state Division of Elections. Democrats outnumber Republicans, but just barely, as both parties gear up for a fierce battle in November for a U.S. Senate seat and the governor’s office.

Here are five takeaways from the new voter-registration numbers, which reflect the primary-election “book closing” on July 30:

The big picture

As Florida’s population has continued to grow, so has the number of voters, with 13,013,657 registered to cast ballots in the primaries. By comparison, 12.37 million were registered to vote in the 2016 primaries, and 11.8 million were registered to vote in the 2014 primaries.

Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans, but not by a lot — 4,839,434 to 4,594,133. While both parties have seen registration increases since the 2016 primaries, the Democratic margin is about the same as it was two years ago.

No labels, please

Voters who aren’t registered with the Democratic or Republican parties won’t be able to cast ballots in many primary races, including the marquee race for governor. But that hasn’t stopped the trend of Floridians ditching the donkeys and the elephants and registering “no party affiliation.”

The total of so-called NPA voters has climbed to 3,493,494 — or about 27 percent of the electorate. That is up from slightly more than 2.91 million voters, or about 23.6 percent, during the 2016 primaries.

Democratic dominance

Conventional wisdom has long held that Democrats look to South Florida when they need votes. And there’s good reason for that: Miami-Dade County has 586,648 registered Democrats, Broward County has 577,248, and Palm Beach County has 387,445 — nearly a third of all of the registered Democrats in the state.

It’s also no wonder that Democrats focus on the Orlando area. In Orange and Osceola counties, registered Democrats now outnumber Republicans by 161,000 voters. With both parties focusing heavily this year on attracting Hispanic voters, Democrats also hold about a 100,000-voter edge in Orange and Osceola among Latinos.

GOP heaven

Registered Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats in each of the seven most-populated counties — Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach and Pinellas (though the GOP trails by fewer than, 1,000 voters in Pinellas.) But the GOP has been successful for the past two decades, at least in part, because it has dominated regions such as North Florida, Southwest Florida and many suburban areas.

The new numbers bear that out. For example, in Northwest Florida, registered Republicans make up more than half of the voters in Bay, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington counties. The same holds true in Northeast Florida in Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties. It also goes for Sumter County, which is home to much of the massive Villages retirement community, and Collier County in Southwest Florida.

Don’t forget the little guys

Much of the attention during this year’s campaign focuses on candidates going to large media markets and party strongholds as they try to amass votes. But the new registration numbers also give a glimpse of smaller, rural counties that can get lost in the debate.

Nine counties — Calhoun, Dixie, Franklin, Glades, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty and Union counties — each have fewer than 10,000 registered voters. The smallest are Lafayette, with 4,312 voters, and Liberty, with 4,365, followed by Glades, with 6,751. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in each of the nine counties, though GOP President Donald Trump carried all of the counties in 2016.

Marco Rubio looks for his place in Trump’s Republican Party

After flaming out in the GOP presidential primary — and enduring rival Donald Trump’s taunts along the way — Sen. Marco Rubio is entering his next act in politics.

The once-rising star used to be criticized for being in too much of a hurry, but now he’s hunkered down in the Senate with nothing, it seems, but time.

Rubio passes his days buried in the work of the Senate Intelligence Committee and is a leading advocate of bolstering election security and slapping sanctions on Russians if they interfere again in 2018. In the hallways of the Capitol, he brushes past reporters looking for reaction to the news of the day, focusing instead on legislative proposals or policy speeches on the Senate floor. And back in Florida, he’s involved in long-running disputes over the Everglades and toxic algae blooms.

But one thing Rubio isn’t doing, he says, is gearing up for a White House run in 2020.

“I’m not primarying the president, and no one else should either unless we want to lose the White House,” Rubio told The Associated Press. “I’m kind of approaching every day as if the U.S. Senate is the last place I’ll ever serve in public office and trying to make that meaningful.”

Like the other Capitol Hill also-rans against Trump — Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz — Rubio is finding his way in the Trump-era Republican Party, testing whether there is room for his own brand of conservatism.

He says he keeps in contact with Trump, talking to him on the phone two to three times a month, including last week. But he is continuing to reshape his own political identity, separate from the president, and isn’t ruling out another White House run somewhere down the line.

“I still peek around the corner every now and then, but by and large I try to be more and more focused on what’s in front of us,” Rubio said.

He added that he remains “impatient,” but “like anyone who is alive, and is watching, listening and trying to learn, time teaches you things.”

After he ended his 2016 presidential campaign, Rubio appeared to be on his way out of Washington. He had pledged not to run for re-election, but colleagues pressed him to reconsider.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told the AP he was among the first Republicans to nudge Rubio to seek re-election to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made his own pitch as Republicans fought to keep the Senate majority. Eventually Rubio agreed.

Since then, people who have observed Rubio during his career see a more mindful, even liberated, politician who no longer carries the weight of being “The Republican Savior,” as Time magazine once called the charismatic young son of immigrants. Instead, the 47-year-old is keeping his head down and doing the grunt work of governing, answering head-on the criticism that he was more flash than substance as a candidate.

“He seems to have found his place,” said longtime ally Nick Iarossi, a Florida-based GOP lobbyist and fundraiser.

On several fronts this year, Rubio has started taking his shots to “modernize” the GOP agenda for the 21st century, as he puts it, with an emphasis on countering China abroad and helping working families at home.

In the spring, Rubio helped lead an effort to rein in the Chinese telecom giant ZTE for violating U.S. trade rules over selling goods to Iran and North Korea. He sought to impose stiffer penalties than the Trump administration wanted. The Senate approved the bipartisan effort, but Rubio ultimately lost that battle with the White House, as the legislative provision was abandoned.

Earlier this month, Rubio unveiled a family leave plan, after having successfully worked with Ivanka Trump to expand child tax credits in the 2017 GOP tax overhaul. The paid leave plan would allow young parents to take their Social Security funds early, to help pay for time off with children, rather than in retirement. Both ideas had been part of his presidential bid.

“His distance from the middle of the political firestorm,” said Rubio’s former campaign manager and top adviser Terry Sullivan, “has allowed him the space to practice his style of politics.”

But mention of Rubio still draws a collective eye roll from some critics who see just another survival strategy after the brutal presidential campaign. He’s doing what Rubio often does, they say, which is trying to chart a middle ground that often pleases no one.

Jesse Ferguson, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, said the idea that Rubio is emerging as some independent Republican voice “is indicative of the way Trump has turned Congress into a bunch of yes-men.”

“In the GOP today, showing independence from Trump is like being awarded valedictorian at summer school,” he said. “The bar is so low that any Republican that doesn’t salute, praise or genuflect any time he walks in the room is suddenly seen as a thoughtful, independent-minded leader.”

It’s also not clear that there’s space for Rubio’s brand of conservatism in the GOP’s Trump tent.

Despite his roots as a tea-party-backed candidate in 2010, Rubio always played better to suburban voters — the Starbucks moms and dads whose households look a lot like his, with kids, mortgages and college costs in the distance. It’s those same voters who are at risk of fleeing the GOP in the Trump era.

Jenny Beth Martin, of the Tea Party Patriots, surveyed several hundred members at the start of this year and found a mixed response to Rubio.

“It really went the whole spectrum from excellent to ho-hum to disappointing,” she said. “They just cannot figure out exactly what issues are driving him the most and how they align with the tea party values or President Trump’s agenda.”

Rubio, for his part, tweets Bible verses many mornings, which some see as an antidote to Twitter’s usual rants, and he is perhaps the only rank-and-file lawmaker to be guarded by a security detail after it was reported there was a possible threat on his life.

He expects the nation’s political pendulum to swing back his way eventually. Americans will one day grow exhausted of the current “outrage cycle and the constant fighting,” he says.

Or so he hopes.

“Because if it doesn’t, we’re in a lot of trouble.”

Material republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Gwen Graham seeks Parrothead vote with Jimmy Buffett endorsement

Gwen Graham is going after votes in Margaritaville: Musician and environmentalist Jimmy Buffett says he’s backing Graham’s gubernatorial campaign.

The campaign announced the endorsement by Buffett on Monday.

“Like her dad, Gwen will put the interests of everyday Floridians first,” Buffett said in a statement. “She has a heart for people and a passion for the Sunshine State.

“She’ll protect our precious natural environment, ensure we have strong public schools and affordable health care. It’s been too long since we have had a Governor for all the people.”

Buffett has been a staple in Florida since moving to Key West in the 1970s.

He is best known for hits such as “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Margaritaville.” The latter song has been brought to life in the form of a restaurant chain, as well as a resort on Hollywood Beach in South Florida.

In addition to his lengthy music career, Buffett has also donated his time and resources to charity work, focusing on the environment and disaster relief programs.

“Jimmy isn’t just a legendary musician, he is also a dedicated environmentalist who has worked with my family for years to preserve Florida’s natural treasures,” Graham said.

“I am proud to have earned his vote on Election Day. Come that Tuesday, it’ll be alright.”

Graham is competing for the Democratic nomination with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King, and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

In addition to the endorsement, Buffett is set to play a “Get Out the Vote” rally for Graham on Aug. 23, just five days before the Democratic primary.

The campaign said details about the event, which will be in South Florida, would be released in the coming days.

Philip Levine sends warning letters to TV stations to stop Jeff Greene ads

Contending that Jeff Greene‘s attack ads against him are false and misleading including using stock footage from Russia and elsewhere to fake environmental messes in Florida, Philip Levine has sent cease and desist letters to all Florida television stations broadcasting the commercials.

The two Democratic gubernatorial primary rivals are battling over Greene’s TV commercials launched late last week, named “Levine Latrines,” which charge that Levine, as Mayor of Miami Beach, pursued policies and programs that helped pollute Biscayne Bay.

“Jeff Greene is airing a political advertisement that makes false assertions using misleading stock video from Russia, China, Serbia, and the Czech Republic to depict Biscayne Bay,” Levine’s Senior Adviser Christian Ulvert stated in a news release issued Monday morning. “We fully expect the advertisement to be pulled, along with subsequent attempts by the Greene campaign to lie about Mayor Levine’s record.

“Jeff Greene is repeating history with his false attacks that do nothing more than divide our party. Florida Democrats deserve better.”

The skirmish is the latest in a Democratic gubernatorial campaign that has turned increasingly muddy in the past couple of weeks, with charges and counter-charges between Greene, Levine, Gwen Graham, Chris King, and Andrew Gillum. The primary is Aug. 28.

Greene’s campaign responded by saying that Levine’s lawyer will be hearing from Greene’s lawyer.

“The visuals are aides – the headlines are facts. We stand by the ad. Levine is a bully,” Greene’s campaign stated in a written response. “He tried to silence scientists and members of the press who told the public the truth about dangerous and disgusting fecal bacteria being dumped in the bay — but Jeff Greene won’t be bullied. Our attorney will be responding directly to his.”

The Levine campaign letters to the TV stations, from the campaign’s attorney Kendall Coffey, contend that those images, as well as the commercial’s allegations that the Miami Beach’s sewage system is discharging into the bay — disputed by Miami Beach’s city manager, as cited by Levine’s campaign —  are false and defamatory.

The letter suggests potential legal action but is just a first step toward establishing that possibility.

“We therefore respectfully insist that, by 5 p.m. today, your station cease and desist the broadcasting of this advertisement or any advertisements that state or imply that the City of Miami Beach discharged human waste into Biscayne Bay from its sewer system. At a minimum, these ads should be taken down pending a legal review,” Coffey writes. “Please govern yourself accordingly.”

White TV ad

Frank White ad sees sheriffs tout him as a ‘conservative we can trust’

Attorney General candidate Frank White is rolling out a new TV ad Monday saying he, not fellow Republican Ashley Moody, has a record county sheriffs can trust.

The 30-second ad, titled “Florida Sheriffs Support Frank White,” apes a recent TV ad by Moody by bringing in some backup from county sheriffs who are backing his campaign. Moody, a former circuit court judge and prosecutor, touted her law endorsement endorsements and another from Attorney General Pam Bondi, in an ad released last week.

White’s handful of sheriff backers were used to the same effect in the new spot.

“Florida Sheriffs agree that for Attorney General, Frank White has the conservative record we can trust,” a narrator says before three county sheriffs — Escambia Sheriff David Morgan, Okaloosa Sheriff Larry Ashley and Santa Rosa Sheriff Bob Johnson — split the next three lines of the script.

“That’s why Frank White stood with President [Donald] Trump against illegal immigration and voted to outlaw sanctuary cities in Florida. And why Frank has the highest NRA A+ rating for defending the Second Amendment. Frank White has worked with us in law enforcement to increase penalties on child predators and strengthen the death penalty,” the sheriffs say.

“Frank White. Tough. Effective. Conservative. For Attorney General,” the narrator says in closing.

The ad is the latest in a string of ads the White campaign has released since early June, when he kicked off an 80-day advertising plan with a $1 million ad buy well before the “lowest unit rate” rule kicked in 45 days out from Aug. 28 primary election.

If polls are any indication, White’s strategy is paying off. A recent measure from St. Pete Polls shows him with a double-digit lead over Moody among likely Republican primary voters, and his lead is similarly high among each slice of the GOP electorate barring Hispanic Republicans and those living in South Florida.

Still, two weeks are left, and Moody’s campaign has shown no signs of slowing down.

For the week of July 28 through Aug. 3, she added another $233,630 between her campaign and political committee, Friends of Ashley Moody, while White tacked on $106,000 between his campaign accounts and United Conservatives political committee.

As it stands, Moody has brought in more than $3.86 million between the two accounts and had $1.43 million in the bank on Aug. 3. White, who has put $2.77 million of his own money behind his bid and has received at least $400,000 from his family, has a to-date total of 4.64 million with $1.18 million at the ready.

The winner of the Aug. 28 primary election will likely face Tampa Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw in November.  A pair of polls, now somewhat stale, showed Shaw with an edge no matter which Republican he faces on Election Day.

For his part, Shaw showed $115,885 received in his new report. He has now raised more than $1.15 million since entering the race early this year and had $676,795 in the bank on Aug. 3.

White’s ad is below.

Ron DeSantis adds another $1M as Adam Putnam’s money machine slows to a crawl

Congressman Ron DeSantis has held an edge in the polls for weeks, but now he’s started eating into Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s fundraising lead, too.

DeSantis, whose chances surged after an endorsement from President Donald Trump, brought in more than $1 million between July 28 and Aug. 3. Putnam, meanwhile, brought in $191,901.

DeSantis’ cash mostly came in through his committee account this time around, with his campaign receiving $399,031 and Friends of Ron DeSantis adding $635,100.

By far the largest check he cashed was a $300,000 payment from Conservative Principles for Florida, the main fundraising vehicle for incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva. Showing up with $50,000 checks were Save Our Everglades PC, a newish committee chaired by Mary Barley of The Everglades Trust, and Miami-based Duty Free Group.

Included further down was a $20,000 check from The Presidential Coalition, an affiliate of Citizens United that says its mission includes “seizing upon the momentum of President Trump’s historic victory to build a ‘farm team’ of up and coming candidates who share our vision for America as a ‘shining city upon a hill.’”

On the campaign side, DeSantis received $183,005 in state matching funds alongside more than 40 checks for the maximum campaign donation of $3,000.

The state campaign matching funds program, open only to candidates for Governor and Cabinet positions, matches contributions of $250 or less from individuals who were state residents at the time of making the contribution. The first distribution of those funds is made 60 days before the primary election.

Also on the report were hundreds of small-dollar donations. Of the 1,357 campaign contributions he received, more than 1,200 were for $100 or less. Excluding the matching funds check, DeSantis’ average campaign donor chipped in $159.19.

Spending for the week was a few bucks shy of $3 million, with $2.93 million paying for media buys and the remainder paying for a list of expenses including credit card processing fees, printing, catering, direct mail and fundraising consulting from Picotte & Porter, the Jacksonville-based shop run by Gretchen Picotte and Rick Porter.

In all, DeSantis has raised $16 million for his gubernatorial bid and had $2.24 million in the bank on Aug. 3.

Putnam’s comparatively anemic campaign haul included an $81,170 matching funds disbursement, nine max checks and just over 300 contributions overall. His political committee, Florida Grown PC, added another $54,520, with a $15,000 check from The Florida Justice Reform Committee leading the way. Also on the report were $10,000 checks from Winter Park land development company Keewin, Vestcor Companies Chairman and former Ambassador John Rood as well as Heartland Dental Care founder Richard E. Workman.

Both the campaign and committee reports are tiny compared to the numbers Putnam has pulled down throughout most of his campaign. The last time Florida Grown raised less than $54,250 was the week before Election Day 2016, when Putnam was not on the ballot. The last time Putnam’s campaign account reeled in less than $56,212 — it’s total excluding the matching funds — is never.

Despite the meager week, spending totaled $2.67 million and included $2.13 million in ad buys and another $518,000 in direct mail campaigns.

As of Aug. 3, the second-term Agriculture Commissioner had raised $37 million between the two accounts and had $4.8 million in the bank.

DeSantis and Putnam are a little over two weeks away from the Aug. 28 primary election, when Republicans will decide which man will represent the party on the November ballot.

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