fundraising Archives - Florida Politics

Robert Asencio tops Anthony Rodriguez in fundraising once again

The final campaign finance reports are in to the Florida Division of Elections, and they showed Democratic state Rep. Robert Asencio once again ahead of his Republican challenger Anthony Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has kept it competitive in recent reporting periods. But Asencio has brought in more outside money in each of the last four reports filed with the state.

Asencio earned just over $37,000 from Oct. 20 to Nov. 1 while spending more than $33,000.

A handful of interest group chipped into Asencio’s re-election bid, including clean energy group Ygrene Energy Fund, Florida Workers’ Advocates, and Latino Rising.

Asencio’s spending mainly went toward a pair of ad buys for $13,000 and 12,1000 each.

The incumbent also brought in $2,500 to his political committee, Alliance for Prosperity PC.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez brought in $21,500 during the same period. Much of that also came from interest groups such as JP Morgan Chase, Jacksonville Kennel Club and Agents for a Better Florida. Ygrene also dropped $1,000 into Rodriguez’ campaign, attempting to cover their bases no matter the result of Tuesday’s election.

Rodriguez spent more than $36,000 on media buys/canvassing, another $10,000 on mailers, and nearly $4,000 on phone banking.

Rodriguez is facing headwinds as he attempts to oust Asencio. The Florida Democratic Party recently released an ad campaign accusing Rodriguez of mismanaging rental properties in Kendall through his company, Florida Advanced Properties.

The Republican called that ad “a false attack on my business and me personally as a business owner.”

HD 118 covers parts of Miami-Dade County including Tamiami and Kendall. Both Asencio and Rodriguez were unchallenged in their respective primaries.

Everytown for Gun Safety

Everytown for Gun Safety spends $450K on last-minute mail campaign

Everytown For Gun Safety, a gun-control group co-founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has poured $455,000 into a direct mail campaign according to a newly filed campaign finance report.

The national branch of the org, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, funneled $465,000 to its state-level PAC, Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund Florida, on Tuesday. The Florida fund plunked nearly all of that money down on a quartet of direct mail buys through The Pivot Group, a Washington-based political strategy firm.

The Pivot Group received $308,000 for another pair of direct mail campaigns on Oct. 26.

The Oct. 30 report contains the committee’s transactions since state law forced committee and candidate accounts to accelerate to daily finance reporting.

Prior to paying for a new slate of mailers, the state-level committee had spent $2.6 million since it set up shop in mid-September. The bulk of that sum, $1.99 million, went to another DC firm, Bully Pulpit Interactive for online ads, while another $260,000 paid for mailers through Massachusetts-based Wildfire Contact.

In addition to playing in the Florida elections with a state-level PAC, the national committee has spent another $600,000 boosting candidates on both sides of the aisle.

Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano, a Republican, has been on the receiving end of most of that cash. Everytown has sent his political committee, Innovate Florida, two checks totaling $500,000 since September.

The other $100,000 went Democrats.

Democratic Ag. Commissioner nominee Nikki Fried took in half of that cash via her committee Florida Consumers First, while the other $50,000 went to Democratic Attorney General nominee Sean Shaw’s committee, Sean Shaw for Florida.

gambling Amendment 3

Seminole Tribe puts another $1M behind Amendment 3 push

The political committee behind a proposed constitutional amendment to let voters decide on future gambling expansions in the Sunshine State picked up another seven-figure check from the Seminole Tribe of Florida on Wednesday.

Voters in Charge, the committee sponsoring Amendment 3, has been heavily backed by the tribe as well as Disney Worldwide Services. With the new check, the Seminole Tribe has anted up $24.35 million for the Amendment 3 push since December 2017.

Disney has put $19.65 million into the campaign since handing over its first contribution in April 2017. Combined, the Seminoles and Disney have put exactly $44 million into the committee, which represents all but $314,000 of the money it has raised since it started accepting contributions in late 2015.

Voters in Charge had $13 million left to spend heading into November.

The two companies each have a stake in stopping more casinos from popping in Florida. The Seminole Tribe is a casino operator and is not subject to the state’s restrictions on casino-style gambling. Disney has argued that more gambling could tarnish the family-friendly image it banks on to bring in vacationers.

The million-dollar infusion was the only action disclosed in Voters in Charge’s penultimate daily finance report — even though the committed brought in nearly $7.6 million in contributions over the last 11 days of the month, it hasn’t’ reported any contributions since the finance report covering Oct. 13 through Oct. 19.

A pair of committees opposing the amendment — Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3 and Vote NO on 3 — haven’t uploaded their most recent dailies yet, though they had raised a combined $16.9 million as of Oct. 30.

A large chunk of that money came in during the reporting period ending Oct. 19, when gambling interests MGM Resorts International, Xpressbet, Jacksonville Greyhound Racing and 831 Federal Highway Acquisitions sent along $1 million or more in backup.

Amendment 3, also known as the “Voter Control of Gambling” amendment, would tie the hands of the Legislature by “ensur(ing) that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling,” according to the ballot summary.

A recent poll conducted by the Associated Industries of Florida showed 69 percent of voters plan to vote in favor of Amendment 3, while only 17 percent say they’re a hard no. Another one in seven voters said they were unsure how they would vote. Constitutional amendments must receive 60 percent of the vote to pass.

Amendment 3 is one of a dozen measures that will go before voters in the 2018 general election, including seven amendments placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission and three by the state Legislature.

Only Amendment 3 and Amendment 4, also known as the “Voter Restoration Amendment,” made the ballot through the petition method.

With Honor adds another $155K in TV time to support Brian Mast

With Honor, the group behind a since-retracted ad supporting U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, has added another $155,000 to support the Republican’s re-election bid.

The new round of money was first spotted by TCPalm’s Ali Schmitz on Twitter.

With Honor, a group aimed at electing veterans to Congress, has now spent more than $900,000 backing the Army veteran.

Mast is attempting to hold on to his seat in Florida’s 18th Congressional District as he competes with Democratic candidate Lauren Baer.

Late last month, With Honor released an ad criticizing Baer over a column she wrote while attending Harvard.

The piece was authored shortly after 9/11, and criticized American foreign policy for not doing enough to help countries who suffer their own catastrophes.

Baer juxtaposed her criticism of America’s past with the outpouring of support offered to the United States.

“I wish to see an America emerge that is humbler and more humane,” Baer wrote, in light of support received from the rest of the world.

With Honor’s spot all but accused Baer of betraying the U.S., asking “if Lauren Baer couldn’t stand with us after 9/11, how can she stand up for us in Congress?”

Eventually, the nonpartisan group disowned the ad.

“With Honor released a political advertisement that I believe does not live up to the spirit of our organization,” With Honor CEO Rye Barcott said.

“We decided to take this advertisement down. We commit to learn and do better, and we remain strongly supportive of Brian Mast for Congress.”

The Mast campaign put out an ad featuring similar criticisms, but stood by their spot in light of With Honor’s reversal. Baer also pushed back against the critiques with an ad of her own.

But With Honor isn’t the only group attempting to buff up Mast’s efforts to hold on to his seat.

The most recent reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show several conservative organizations and interest groups adding thousands to Mast’s campaign.

Among those donating at least $2,500 to Mast’s campaign in recent days are New York Life Insurance PAC, U.S. Chamber PAC, Letter Carrier Political Fund and the Virgin Islands Republican Party.

UBS Americas PAC and Google LLC NetPAC also chipped in $2,000, as did several PACs associated with conservative groups.

Citizens United Political Victory Fund also contributed $1,000. The group is separate from the Citizens United featured in the landmark Supreme Court case, though it aims to “support conservative candidates running for federal office who share Citizens United’s vision,” according to the fund’s website.

That donation comes as Baer is boasting of support from a group attempting to end Citizens United called, well, End Citizens United.

The group announced Thursday its members had made nearly 1,000 contributions to Baer’s bid, totaling $24,000.

“As a litigator, I took the fight to defend our campaign finance laws all the way to the Supreme Court, and as a member of Congress I will make campaign finance reform one of my top priorities,” Baer said.

Andrew Gillum raises just shy of $3M in a day

Coming off his best weekly haul to date, Democrat Andrew Gillum added nearly $3 million to his gubernatorial bankroll in a single day.

Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, on Tuesday reported nearly $900,000 in contributions to his campaign account and more than $2 million to his political committee, Forward Florida.

In total, Gillum has raised more than $50 million between the two accounts. Last week, he raked in nearly $8.7 million in total, his best sum to date. Donations this week to Gillum, tracked through Tuesday, so far total $3.2 million.

Gillum’s Republican opponent Ron DeSantis raised a little more than $1.08 million on Tuesday, thanks mostly in part to a $1 million donation from the Republican Governor’s Association.

In total, the RGA has chipped in $3 million to DeSantis’ committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis. The RGA also has funneled more than $7.5 million to DeSantis’ benefit through another committee, Florida Facts.

The Democratic Governor’s Association kicked in $2 million to Gillum last week but has yet to make a dent in this week’s daily fundraising reports.

Gillum’s largest contributions this week have come from legal interests. For example, Morgan & Morgan, the trial law firm headed by attorney John Morgan — who once considered running for Governor in 2018 — chipped in $250,000 to Gillum’s PAC on Tuesday.

Nelson Scott Blue

Rick Scott PAC spends $10M on last-minute media blitz

New filings with the Federal Elections Commission show New Republican PAC, the political committee backing Gov. Rick Scott’s Senate bid, has pumped nearly $10 million into media buys since the end of last week.

A trio of 24-hour finance disclosures show Scott’s committee put down more than $900,000 for a media placement opposing his Democratic rival, incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, on Friday. Filings uploaded Wednesday show the committee followed that up with another slate of media buys totaling $8.78 million this week.

Those seven-figure reports, combined with some smaller ones, indicate the committee has spent nearly $10 million since the end of last week.

At the end of the pre-general election reporting period, New Republican PAC had raised more than $19.75 million and had spent more than $18.5 million of that cash. The most recent of the committee’s 24-hour reports show it has now spent $29.5 million during the 2018 election cycle.

The committee spending spree is separate from Scott’s $66 million-plus in hard money expenditures. The campaign account got another boost on Oct. 22. when the term-limited Governor’s whipped out his checkbook to put another $7.5 million of his own money on the line. He followed that up with a $3.8 million check last Wednesday

Since entering the Senate race in April, Scott has put north of $54 million of his personal wealth behind his campaign. His campaign account reports nearly $11.6 million in fundraising since Oct. 16, including the candidate contributions.

Nelson, meanwhile, had raised $26.6 million for his re-election account as of Oct. 17, with another $920,000-plus coming in since that report was filed.

Candidates are only required to report contributions over $200 in their 24-hour and 48-hour finance reports, so Scott and Nelson’s totals during the final days of the race could be significantly higher.

After leading for most of the race, Scott has ceded some ground to Nelson in the polls, most of which show the third-term Senator ahead by a hair.

The current polling average complied by RealClearPolitics gives Nelson a 2-point lead over Scott, while FiveThirtyEight is giving the incumbent a 5-in-7 chance to hang on. The FiveThirtyEight model projects Nelson will win re-election by a 4-point margin on Tuesday.

Rene Plasencia rakes in $23K for re-election bid in HD 50

Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia spent raised more than $23,000 during the week ending Oct. 19 and spent even more than that on his re-election bid in Florida House District 50.

The week was the biggest yet in Plasencia’s campaign for either contributions or expenditures and easily swamped the campaign finance activity of his Democratic challenger Pam Dirschka of Titusville, who hasn’t raised or spent anywhere near that much money through her entire campaign.

During the latest week of campaign finance activity posted Monday morning by the Florida Division of Elections, Plasencia raised $23,750 and spent $26,504. That brought his campaign total to nearly $250,000 raised and nearly $225,000 spent, much of it during a hotly-contested Republican primary that Plasencia wound up winning easily on Aug. 28. He’s got just under $24,000 left, even with his big week of fundraising.

Plasencia, of Orlando, and Dirschka are battling for HD 50, which covers parts of east Orange and northwest Brevard counties.

She managed to raise only $169 during the week and reported spending only $12. To date, she’s raised $13,577, and spent $9,267, so she had about $4,000 left after Oct. 19.

Plasencia’s mid-October haul, less than three weeks out from Election Day, was buoyed by 19 maximum $1,000 checks from special interest groups, mostly in the health care industry. About $1,750 of his donations came from individuals.

The spending was almost all through Millennium Consulting, his general campaign consultant.

Melissa Martin SD 14

Light fundraising week for SD 14 hopefuls

Republican Tommy Wright beat out Democrat Melissa “Mel” Martin in his inaugural campaign finance report, though neither candidate reeled in a large haul for the week ending Oct. 19.

Wright and Martin are competing for Senate District 14, which turned into an open seat following the death longtime Republican lawmaker Dorothy Hukill. Wright, a New Smyrna Beach businessman, was selected to replace Hukill as the GOP nominee earlier this month.

His first campaign finance report, covering his first five days as a candidate, showed $1,000 in contributions and $2,500 in candidate loans for a total of $3,500 in receipts. His lone contribution came from the Fire Safe Florida Political Committee.

Wright’s expenditure list was similarly short, with the $1,782 candidate qualifying fee listed as his sole expense. He had $1,718 in the bank on Oct. 19.

Martin’s report showed $1,122 raised across 18 contributions with the largest check weighing in at $500. The report also included $229 worth of “in-kind” support from Martin. The spending side of the finance report was similarly sparse, with just $775 heading out the door — $750 of that money went toward boosting campaign Facebook posts.

The Cocoa Democrat has raised $46,400 to-date, including $2,000 in candidate loans. She finished the reporting period with about $27,900 on hand.

SD 14 covers the southern half of Volusia County and the northern half of Brevard. It was one of the districts to see substantial changes after Florida courts approved new district maps at the end of 2015. Registered Republicans make up 39 percent of the electorate while registered Democrats make up 33 percent.

Mitt Romney carried SD 14 by 7 points in 2012, and in 2016 it voted plus-18 for Donald Trump. Hukill’s opponent two years ago was no-party candidate Richard Paul Dembinsky, whom she beat 68-32 on Election Day.

Despite the strong Republican lean, Florida Democrats circulated poll numbers prior to Hukill’s death showing Martin with a lead. That polling was faulty, however, due to Hukill and Martin’s party affiliations being swapped on the Change Research survey.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Javier Fernandez

Javier Fernandez continues strong fundraising spree in HD 114

Democratic state Rep. Javier Fernandez continued a strong series of fundraising periods, with the newest reports showing him against heavily outraising his Republican challenger, Javier Enriquez.

The incumbent has easily outraised Enriquez in each of the last three reporting periods. That’s a change-up from last month when Enriquez appeared to be keeping pace with Fernandez.

Fernandez earned an assortment of individual contributions Oct. 13-19, the latest period filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

Fernandez also got support from multiple political committees, such as Our Florida, South Florida Citizens for Justice, and various groups representing Florida hospitals.

In all, Fernandez pulled in just over $30,000 while spending just $5,000. That $5,000 went entirely toward a web management and marketing consultant in Washington, D.C.

Enriquez earned $2,350 during the same period, while spending nearly $30,000.

Most of that donation money came from a pair of $1,000 checks from real estate groups. As for Enriquez’ expenditures, more than $15,000 went to telephone marketing costs, nearly $9,000 went to canvasing costs, and another $5,000 went toward media and website costs.

Fernandez is still sitting on about $60,000 with just over a week to go. Enriquez has just about $20,000.

Fernandez won the HD 114 seat in a special election back in May.

Caruso Bonfiglio

Jim Bonfiglio laps Mike Caruso in fundraising — thanks to self-loan

Democrat legislative candidate Jim Bonfiglio heavily outraised his Republican opponent, Mike Caruso, in the latest fundraising period — largely thanks to an $80,000 loan made by Bonfiglio to his campaign.

The two are competing for the House District 89 seat, which covers coastal portions of Palm Beach County.

Caruso brought in more outside money than Bonfiglio Oct. 13-19, gathering just over $6,000 to Bonfiglio’s $4,750. But Bonfiglio dropped $80,000 of his own money to fund a big ad buy in the final week of the campaign.

Bonfiglio has trailed Caruso in outside donations in each reporting period throughout the general election. That’s now been rendered null.

Contributions to Bonfilgio mostly came from political committees, such as Floridians for Public Safety and the Florida Nurses Association.

His campaign also ate through nearly $90,000 in Oct. 13-19. That’s thanks to an $86,5000 advertising buy that was listed in this report. However, those ads will run during the final full week of the campaign.

Caruso was also heavily aided by outside groups, earning $1,000 donations from Florida Blue, Committee of Florida Agents, and the Florida Limousine Association.

The Republican spent nearly $44,000 during the period. Like Bonfiglio, almost all of that was spent on an ad buy, with just over $43,000 listed as media advertising with DMG & Associates.

Overall, the candidates retain just about the same amount of cash with just over a week to go. Caruso has a slight lead with just under $24,000, as compared with Bonfilgio at just over $20,000.

The contest should be a tight one. Republican state Rep. Bill Hager, who is term-limited, had some tough battles in past re-election bids.

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