Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam raised $905,630 for his gubernatorial bid in February, ending the month with nearly $17.5 million on hand.
Putnam is one of three major Republicans running to replace termed-out Gov. Rick Scott in 2018. He faces U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
Putnam’s campaign finance report is not yet available through the Florida Division of Elections, but his campaign said $636,550 of the February money came in through Putnam’s political committee, Florida Grown, with the other $269,080 coming in through his campaign account.
The two accounts had about $16.8 million on hand at the end of January, putting February spending at approximately $200,000. Florida Grown records show he spent at least $124,000 through his committee last month.
His campaign said more than 99 percent of the February contributions came from Florida individuals and businesses.
Putnam is still far ahead of his rivals in total fundraising, with $24.49 million brought in to date, though he wasn’t the top fundraiser last month.
Corcoran, who has not officially entered the race, has raised $6.6 million for his political committee, Watchdog PAC. He had about $5 million of that on hand at the end of January.
Four major Democrats are also running for governor in 2018: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.
Republican Baxter Troutman said his Agriculture Commissioner campaign hit the $2.9 million mark in total fundraising last month and has $2.7 million on hand.
Troutman, a former Winter Haven state representative, is one of three Republicans vying to replace term-limited Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is running for Governor in 2018.
Troutman’s February campaign finance report is not yet available through the Florida Division of Elections, though he would have had to raise about $200,000 and spend $50,000 last month to hit his stated figures.
At the end of January, Troutman’s campaign and committee, iGrow PC, had brought in $2.7 million, including $2.5 million in candidate contributions, and had about $2.55 million on hand.
His primary opponents, Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell and Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley, were not able to raise money for their campaigns due to the Legislature being in Session for all of February.
Caldwell finished January with about $1.11 million in the bank between his campaign and committee, while Grimsley had $909,459 on hand between her two accounts.
Sitting lawmakers are not barred from spending campaign cash during Session, so their balances may show a decline once their reports are filed.
Three Democrats are also running for the Cabinet position: Jeffery Duane Porter, R.David Walker and Thomas Clayton White.
None of the three candidates have posted their February reports.
Walker had less than $500 in his campaign account at the end of January and Porter and White didn’t file for the race until the tail end of the month.
Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke lent $200,000 in February to his bid for Orange County mayor, putting his campaign in a more competitive financial position with those of his two main rivals, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Winter Park businessman Rob Panepinto.
With the loan, Clarke’s campaign now has brought in $262,111 and has spent only $5,280 of that, according to reports for the month of February posted by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections.
The move, Clarke said, signals his determination.
“I’m in it to win it,” he said.
Clarke said false rumors circulated in February that he was preparing to drop out of the race. He called them lies, and said the rumors impacted his fundraising efforts. And he said that’s why he put in his own money, to demonstrate his commitment.
Besides the personal loan, Clarke’s campaign reported raising just $8,500 in February, the least amount of contributions he’s gathered in a month since his October entrance.
“There was a movement out there of people saying I was going to drop out of the race. It had an impact on the money we could raise. That’s one of the reasons I put that money in there, to shut them up,” Clarke said.
Reports show that Demings has now raised well over a half-million dollars through his official campaign and through his independent political committee, Orange County Citizens for Smart Growth, and the two funds finished February with a combined total of just under $500,000. Panepinto’s numbers are not yet in, but through January he raised about $360,000 through his official campaign and his independent political committee and finished January with about $250,000 combined in the bank.
In February, Demings’ campaign reported raising $31,875 through 80 individual contributions. That gave the campaign a total of $389,425 raised since he entered the contest in July, and $342,843 left in the bank at the end of the month. Demings’ political committee, Orange County Citizens for Smart Growth, reported raising $28,500 in February, bolstered by a $20,000 check from builder and Democratic donor JimPugh of Orlando. The committee now has raised $155,100, and finished February with $153,540 in cash.
Panepinto’s February reports have not yet been posted by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections. Going into February his official campaign had raised $245,832, including $100,000 he contributed himself, and had $201,147 in the bank. His independent political committee Vision Orange County had raised $116,649 through January, and ended that month with $50,333 in cash.
All five members of the Longwood City Commission have come out in support of Republican businessman Scott Sturgill‘s bid for Florida’s 7th Congressional District, his campaign announced Friday.
Sturgill, who faces state Rep. Mike Miller of Winter Park and Patrick Weingart of Altamonte Springs in the Aug. 28 Republican primary, moves forward with the endorsements of Longwood Mayor Ben Paris, and fellow city commissioners Matt Morgan, Abby Shoemaker, Richard Drummond, and Brian Sackett.
Sturgill, Miller, and Weingart want to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy this year to represent CD 9, which covers Seminole County and north-central Orange County.
“I’m proud to endorse Mr. Sturgill,” Paris stated in a news release issued by Sturgill’s campaign. “I have seen the impact he has had on our local communities as a businessman and philanthropist. I know that when he is in Congress, he will continue his great work for the people.”
“I’m honored to endorse a family man and a non-career politician in Scott Sturgill,” Morgan added. “Now more than ever, we need real people that can produce real results. Not career politicians who are just looking to climb up the next rung of the political ladder.”
Sturgill is a fourth-generation Seminole County resident who is the chief executive officer of Durable Safety Products.
“I’m grateful for the support of these hardworking lawmakers from Longwood,” he stated in the release. “This continued support further illustrates that leaders and voters from the 7th district are fed up with dysfunction in Tallahassee and Washington. What we’ve seen at the higher levels of government over the past year isn’t working, and when I’m in Congress, I’ll give the people the of the 7th district their voice back.”
The campaign raised $201,091 during the month and his political committee Rise and Lead raised $64,350, according to his campaign.
Official reports have not yet been posted by the Florida Secretary of State. Through the end of January the campaign had raised just over $2 million and through February 15 Rise and Lead had raised just over $1.2 million.
King’s campaign is announcing Thursday that it and the political committee have now raised a grand total of $3,492,133, and have a combined total of $1,760,061 left in the bank.
“Our campaign continues to build momentum as voters hear Chris’s message of fresh ideas and new leadership to take on the corrupt culture in Tallahassee,” Campaign Manager Zach Learner stated in a news release. “Chris’s bold progressive values are standing out in this wide-open race and our strong financial support shows our message is resonating with the voters.”
King faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary for the nomination to run for governor.
Between his campaign account and political committee, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis raised more than $304,000 in February for his campaign to continue as Florida Chief Financial Officer.
The Panama City Republican raised $232,393 through his campaign account last month, and an additional $72,500 in his political committee, Treasure Florida. Overall, he’s raised more than $2.46 million to date – $1.8 million through his PAC, and $647,908 through his campaign account.
Patronis was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott last June to serve the remainder of the term won by Jeff Atwater, who resigned to take an administrative position at Florida Atlantic University.
Patronis announced in November that he would run for a full term in 2018.
Former state Sen. Jeremy Ring is the lone Democrat to enter the race. He’s yet to report on fundraising for February, but had raised a total of about $851,000 by of the end of January, including $100,000 in loans, and had about $353,000 on hand.
Thonotosassa Republican Tom Lee is widely expected to challenge Patronis. He had about $2.3 million on hand in his political committee, The Conservative, at the end of January.
The net haul of nearly a quarter million dollars gives Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, his third-straight six-figure money month, leading the campaign to declare it is building momentum.
“Mayor Gillum is taking on the fights and issues that matter, and his courageous stands are resonating with our supporter,” Communications Director Geoff Burgan said in a statement issued Wednesday by the campaign. “Last month he took Speaker Richard Corcoran head on, in the first debate of the governor’s race, over his divisive anti-immigrant TV ad and won, and he’s been on the frontlines with Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ students and families fighting for gun safety reforms. Floridians need a governor who isn’t afraid to stand up for those who need a voice in this fight, and they’re going to elect Andrew Gillum to do that in November.”
His detailed campaign finance reports have not yet been posted by the Florida Division of Elections. Gillum finished January with about $1.1 million raised and about $400,000 of that left in his official campaign, and with just under $1 million raised and just under $200,000 left in his political committee.
Gillum faces Winter Park businessman Chris King, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee for the Aug. 28 Democratic primary nomination to run for governor.
Corcoran is not officially a gubernatorial candidate, but is expected to enter the fray soon. The other leading Republicans are Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.
Saying the Democratic Party needs a gubernatorial nominee with the passion to be “transformational” in addressing gun legislation, Chris King on Wednesday went after poll-leader Gwen Graham, contending that when she was in Congress she “never supported an assault weapons ban.”
Speaking in Tallahassee Wednesday, King said the party needs “a champion for gun safety and for a ban on weapons of war.”
“Gwen Graham, who is a good person, but in my view has not demonstrated a record that is passionate about eliminating weapons of war from our streets. In Congress, Congresswoman Graham never supported an assault weapons ban,” King told reporters.
Graham’s campaign disputed King’s assertion that she lacks passion to pursue an assault weapons ban, saying she had been on the front lines pushing for gun reform, including in Orlando and in Washington following the June 12, 2016, massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. She dismissed King’s affront as a “small attack.”
“These attacks are predictable, but sad. Democrats attacking fellow Democrats won’t do anything to solve the mass-shooting crisis,” she said in a written statement. “That’s a choice my opponents are making — all I can tell you is, it was a lot harder beating an NRA-endorsed Republican congressman [U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland] and nearly $300,000 in NRA money spent against me than dealing with these small attacks from fellow Democrats.”
King and Graham also are competing with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine for the Aug. 28 Democratic primary. All four have come out with strong positions seeking bans on assault weapons. King mentioned neither Gillum nor Levine, though he did say the Democratic field was full of tough candidates.
King contended that the call of students and families touched by the massacre at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland included a call for addressing assault weapons, and that the legislation that has emerged has fallen far short. He said the state needs a Democratic governor, “and we have had them in the past, we have had Democratic governors from LeRoyCollins to LawtonChiles,” who “created a political climate around issues they felt strongly about.” (In those historical references, King may have implicitly included but didn’t specifically mention Gov. Bob Graham, Gwen Graham’s father.)
“This was a massive incident of gun violence. And our one-party state government … has not even been willing to debate, to debate, the discussion on banning the sale of weapons of war in the state of Florida. I feel so strongly about this issue, and I would be a governor that, if I could not do this legislatively, I would work to use the bully pulpit to do it through the amendment process,” King said.
“I believe the next governor of Florida has to be transformational, and has to be transformational on the issue of gun safety. They have to have an appetite, an energy, a passion for this because this is a tough issue,” King said. “This is going to be a hard change to make in the state of Florida. The forces against us are tough. But I believe I’m that candidate.”
He then went after Graham, saying that several major mass shootings occurred while Graham was in Congress, including the San Bernardino shooting of 2015. King said that 151 House Democrats sponsored or cosponsored a bill to ban assault weapons, and that another 24 Democrats joined after the Pulse massacre. [In fact, House Resolution 4269, the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2015,” had a total of 149 cosponsors, all Democrats, including the 24 who signed on in the two weeks immediately following the Pulse mass murder.]
“As far as I can tell, Congresswoman Graham, when she was serving there, never added her name as a cosponsor,” King said.
However, her campaign contended she has had a long record, otherwise, of pushing for gun law reforms, including regulation of armor-piercing bullets; that she had, two weeks after the Pulse massacre, come to Orlando where she called for taking weapons of war off our streets; and had, last summer, become the first candidate for governor to release a full plan for gun safety, including banning large-capacity magazines and assault weapons.
Democrat Jennifer Webb announced Wednesday that a handful of local elected officials had endorsed her campaign for House District 69.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman headlined the block endorsement, which also included Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard, and St. Petersburg City Councilmembers Charlie Gerdes and Brandi Gabbard.
“Jennifer has fought for our community and knows our district well. I know what it’s like to take strong stands in Tallahassee and I know Jennifer is the one for the job,” Kriseman said in a press release. “She’ll stand up to the special interests to protect our environment and quality education. She’s the fighter our district needs.”
Gerard said that Webb “has the skills and the temperament to be an outstanding legislator.”
“Her compassion for people and her thoughtful and intelligent nature will make her someone to be proud of. I am happy to support Jennifer Webb because I know she will make all Floridians a priority/”
Gabbard added that Webb was “excited to see an independent, intelligent woman such as Jennifer running to represent Pinellas County in Tallahassee,” while Gerdes said she was “tireless in her commitment to make our community a better place.”
Webb is running for the House seat currently held by Republican Rep. Kathleen Peters, who is running for Pinellas County Commission rather than re-election to the House this year. Webb also ran for the seat in the 2016 cycle, but fell short on Election Day.
Webb faces Javier Centonzio in the Democratic Primary for the seat, which covers part of Pinellas including the communities of Redington Beach, Madeira Beach, Treasure Island, South Pasadena and Gulfport.
Jeremy Bailie and Ray Blacklidge are competing for the Republican nomination.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is reporting that his campaign and independent political committee combined raised more than $2 million in February.
DeSantis, the Republican congressman from Ponte Vedra Beach, announced Wednesday that his official campaign raised $471,000 and his Friends of Ron DeSantis political committee raised $1,616,000 during the month, giving him a 50-day tally of more than $5.4 million in the two funds. That includes $2.4 million transferred to the political committee from another political committee, Fund for Florida’s Future.
The Florida Secretary of State has not yet posted returns from either his campaign nor the political committee.
DeSantis’ campaign stated Wednesday that they now have a combined $5.2 million cash on hand. In January the campaign had raised more than $131,000, while the political committee had raised $3.2 million.
DeSantis is seeking the Aug. 28 Republican primary nomination to run for Governor, competing with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.