fundraising – Page 2 – Florida Politics
Ashey Moody

Ashley Moody raises big, Frank White doubles down and Jay Fant fizzles

Former circuit court judge Ashley Moody again topped her primary opponents in the Attorney General race with nearly $450,000 raised between her campaign and committee accounts last month.

The Hillsborough County Republican received $271,500 of that cash through her committee, Friends of Ashley Moody, with the balance raised via her campaign account.

Her May effort easily bested the other two Republicans vying to replace term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi in the fall. Pensacola Rep. Frank White reported $97,000 in outside money last month, while Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant showed a paltry $1,640.

“Judge Ashley Moody, the only Attorney General candidate who has actually prosecuted a case, continues to outraise all primary opponents, and this month’s finance report is no exception as we look toward next week’s official qualifying period,” campaign manager Nick Catroppo said in a Tuesday news release.

“This morning’s announcement that Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd became the 40th Republican sheriff to endorse Ashley Moody for Attorney General makes her the best, most qualified candidate to serve as Florida’s next chief legal officer.”

Though White’s actual fundraising performance pales when compared to Moody’s, he also dumped another $1.25 million into his campaign last month. The seven-figure “investment” adds to his already immense self-funding effort and keeps him in the top spot when it comes to cash on hand.

He entered June with more than $3.4 million banked. His total includes $2.7 million in self-funding and another $200,000-plus in contributions tied to his father-in-law, Pensacola car dealership magnate Sandy Sansing.

Moody has raised $2.64 million so far and has nearly $2.1 million on hand. Her only self-funding was a $6,000 check used to kick-start her campaign in June.

Fant, who has had a rough time on the fundraising trail for months, has now raised $637,313 and kicked in another $750,000 via a candidate loan. He finished the month with $805,000 in the bank — $711,000 in his campaign account and $93,800 in his committee, Pledge This Day.

White started flexing his cash advantage last week with a $1 million ad buy as part of an “80-day plan” to keep him on TV screens through the primary election. He is the first AG candidate to start running TV ads, but Moody is certain to follow.

A recent poll found her with about 15 percent support in the three-way primary, followed by White at 13.7 percent and Fant at 10.2 percent. More than 60 percent of those polled were undecided.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Keith Perry

Keith Perry fundraising bounces back in May

A month after he was outraised threefold by his leading challenger, Republican Sen. Keith Perry of Gainesville bounced back and expanded his cash-on-hand lead.

The first-term senator added $58,250 in May, including $47,250 through his campaign account and $11,000 in receipts for his committee, Building a Prosperous Florida.

That haul brought him past the $500,000 mark in total fundraising 18 months after filing for re-election to Alachua County-based Senate District 8.

The North Central Florida roofer now has $411,000 in the bank for his 2018 effort, putting him $105,000 ahead of leading Democratic candidate Kayser Enneking, who entered June with about $306,000 on hand.

The Gainesville physician’s May reports included $30,555 in campaign money and another $9,501 for her committee, Florida Knows Excellence. She’s raised $372,000 since entering the race nine months ago.

Perry’s campaign report lists 124 contributions, including more than two dozen checks for the maximum allowable donation of $1,000.

More than a quarter of the campaign contributions came in on May 24, when Perry held a campaign kickoff fundraiser in Gainesville with Senate President Joe Negron, Senate President Designate Bill Galvano and Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson making the host committee.

Most of the campaign contributions came from within SD 8, which covers all of Alachua and Putnam counties as well as the norther half of Marion County. That’s a notable change of pace from his recent reports, one of which featured no in-district donors.

Health insurer Florida Blue topped the committee report with a pair of $5,000 checks. The only donor on the report was a political committee tied to Sysco, which chipped in $1,000.

Enneking’s campaign report showed 119 contributions, including max checks from some of her possible future colleagues.

Showing up in May were committees tied to Democratic Sens. Lori Berman, Lauren Book and Perry Thurston. Also notable were checks from Gainesville developer Ken McGurn and a committee chaired by Coral Gables billionaire Mike Fernandez, who was until recently a major Republican donor. Most of the rest of Enneking’s campaign report came in via small dollar donors chipping in $100 or less.

The committee report was topped by Crestview physician Michael Gilmore, who gave $3,000. Further down the list was a $1,00 check from Gainesville law firm Avera & Smith. Named partner Rod Smith was the 2016 Democratic nominee in SD 8. He is also a former state Senator and former chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

Before she can go head-to-head with Perry in November, Enneking has to win an Aug. 28 primary against fellow Gainesville resident Olysha Magruder. She reported about $2,600 in new money in her May report and also kicked in a $1,000 loan. She started June with a little over $9,000 on hand.

SD 8 is one of a handful of districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the Senate map was redrawn ahead of the 2016 elections. Despite Democrats holding a 9-point advantage in voter registrations, Perry ended up defeating Smith by 4 points on Election Day. SD 8 also voted in favor of Donald Trump, though only by two tenths of a point.

Ed Hooper edges out Amanda Murphy in May fundraising

Clearwater Republican Ed Hooper narrowly outraised New Port Richey Democrat Amanda Murphy in her first month running for Senate District 16.

Hooper raised $43,575 in hard money and tacked on another $24,590 through his committee, Friends of Ed Hooper, for a total of $68,165 raised in May.

After about $12,000 in spending, Hooper’s accounts ended the month with a combined $412,760 in the bank.

As previously reported, Murphy brought in $50,000 last month through a political committee established during her time in the Florida House. She has since reported $11,240 in campaign fundraising and another $5,000 raised through a newly formed political committee, Working Towards Florida’s Future.

Those three reports combined show $66,240 raised in May. None of the accounts reported any spending, so that entire balance was in the bank on June 1.

Both candidates showed several recognizable donors on their reports, including some substantial contributions from current lawmakers.

The Friends of Ed Hooper ledger showed a $10,000 check from a committee tied to Wauchula Republican Rep. Ben Albritton, who is running for SD 26 in the fall. Anheuser-Busch distributor Great Bay Distributors chipped in $5,000, followed by a $2,000 check from red-light camera company American Traffic Solutions.

Hooper’s campaign account received 30 checks for $1,000, the maximum donation for a state legislative race. Disney and its subsidiaries were the sources of four, while Florida East Coast Industries and Great Bay Distributors each gave twice via the main company and an affiliated group. The Sembler family showed up with three checks, one apiece from Brent Sembler, Debbie Sembler and Mel Sembler.

The report for Murphy’s new committee only showed one contribution, a $5,000 check from auto dealer and philanthropist Frank Morsani. He also showed up on the campaign report with a $1,000 contribution, as did political committees tied to newly elected Sen. Lori Berman, Plantation Sen. Lauren Book, Miami Gardens Sen. Oscar Braynon and Ft. Lauderdale Sen. Gary Farmer.

Further down the list was a $250 check from Tampa Democrat Bob Buesing, the 2016 Democratic nominee in neighboring Senate District 18. He recently ended his 2018 bid in that battleground district to clear the way for House Minority Leader Janet Cruz in the primary.

Hooper, who was a member of the Florida House from 2006 through 2014, faces Palm Harbor restaurateur Leo Karruli in the primary. Karruli filed for the seat in February and had pulled in about $18,000 in campaign funds through May 31, including $14,025 in candidate loans. He has $2,660 in the bank.

Murphy, who served in the House from 2013 through 2016, doesn’t have a primary challenger.

SD 16 covers northern Pinellas and southwestern Pasco counties. The seat has a Republican edge — it voted plus-12 for Trump in 2016 — but Florida Democrats are hoping Murphy, who has a history of outperforming expectations in red-leaning seats, can turn it into a “swing seat.”

A recent poll of the November contest backs that up. It found Murphy with a slim lead over Hooper, partly due to nearly a fifth of Republicans saying they would cast a vote for her.

Tina Polsky finishes May with more than $60,000 cash on hand

Tina Polsky ended may with more than $62,000 cash on hand, maintaining the money lead over her primary opponent, Mindy Koch.

Polsky added just under $44,000 to her campaign in May. Of that total, $25,000 came in the form of a loan from Polsky, with the rest coming from outside contributions.

That leaves her far ahead of Koch, who is challenging Polsky for the Democratic nomination in House District 81. Koch declared just over $3,000 raised in May, bringing her total raised to about $10,000. Koch has less than $6,000 of that remaining.

The pair are running to replace retiring Rep. Joe Abruzzo. No Republicans have filed to run in the seat.

Polsky appears to be the favorite in the race. In addition to the large fundraising lead over Koch, Polsky also received a recent round of endorsements from politicians around Palm Beach County. She has also been endorsed by Abruzzo to be his successor.

HD 81 covers parts of Palm Beach County including Parkland and Belle Glade. Democrats have been unchallenged in the previous two elections for HD 81.

Primary voters will choose the district’s Democratic nominee on August 28.

Adam Putnam

Adam Putnam crosses $30M in ‘actual’ fundraising

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is still the champ when it comes to fundraising.

In a Monday email, Putnam’s gubernatorial campaign said it and an affiliated political committee brought in more than $1.73 million in “actual contributions” last month.

“In May, Team Putnam surpassed more than $30 million in contributions from supporters to date. Unlike our opponent, our total doesn’t include transfers and fuzzy math. This significant milestone symbolizes both the financial and grassroots momentum behind Adam Putnam as Florida’s candidate for governor,” said campaign spokesperson Meredith Beatrice.

That jab was aimed at Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is running against Putnam in the Republican primary for Governor.

Last week, DeSantis announced that his campaign and committee accounts “took in more than $3 million” in May. While technically true, more than $1 million of those funds was old money came transferred in from Ron DeSantis for Florida, the principal campaign committee for his now-defunct re-election bid for Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

Putnam’s May reports contain no such surprises — the campaign said it will show $441,674 in contributions in its report, while the already viewable report for the Florida Grown committee shows nearly $1.29 million raised, none of it from transfers.

The committee effort netted four six-figure checks, including $250,000 from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, $200,000 from a committee tied to the Associated Industries of Florida, and $100,000 apiece from the Florida Retail Federation and an Arcadia-based land management company.

To date, Putnam has raised $30.61 million between the two accounts. That’s nearly triple the $10.8 million DeSantis has raised or transferred in.

When it comes to cash on hand, Florida Grown finished May with nearly $11.7 million on hand. The new campaign report is not yet viewable on the Florida Division of Elections website, though it had more than $4 million banked on April 30

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Jeff Brandes adds $187K for re-election, Carrie Pilon sputters

St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes recorded another six-figure haul in his Senate District 24 re-election bid, while Democratic challenger Carrie Pilon saw a massive drop-off in fundraising in only her second month on the trail.

In a Monday press release, the Brandes campaign celebrated raising nearly $187,000 in May, the third month in a row recording a six-figure haul.

“I am truly grateful for the amount of support our campaign continues to receive each and every day,” Brandes said in a press release. “It’s a testament to the level of excitement for our message and what we want to accomplish for our community and our state. I look forward to continuing to take our message to the voters.”

The Pilon campaign stayed quiet about their comparatively meager haul, a stark change from a month ago when the first-time candidate and her team were loud and proud about their slim April fundraising win.

The trial lawyer indeed outraised Brandes by a few thousand dollars in her inaugurals, but her May reports measure in at a quarter the size of her April ones — $26,680 for her campaign and zilch for her committee, Moving Pinellas Forward.

That brings Pilon to about $131,000 raised and $124,000 on hand 60 days into her campaign.

Brandes’ campaign report wasn’t viewable via the Florida Division of Elections Monday afternoon, though his committee, Liberty Florida, reported receiving $143,000 in its new report.

Heritage Property & Casualty Insurance Company topped the committee report with a $25,000 check. The Florida Chamber of Commerce showed up with a $15,000 check, followed by Duke Energy and Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson’s Jobs for Florida political committee at $10,000 apiece.

Brandes’ release didn’t mention his overall on hand total. However, Liberty Florida entered June with $237,743 in the bank. By the end of April, the campaign account had $457,782 on hand.

On April 30, Brandes had $568,000 on hand compared to $102,000 for Pilon. Depending on how much his campaign spent, that $450,000-plus cash advantage could balloon well past $600,000.

Ryan Petty pulling in big money in bid for Broward County School Board

It was a given that Ryan Petty, who lost his daughter in February’s shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, would earn emotional support from the community after declaring his intention to run for Broward County School Board.

Now, it appears Petty is earning financial support as well.

Documents filed with the Broward Supervisor of Elections show Petty has raised more than $44,000 in May. And those donations have come in just about half a month, as Petty only declared his candidacy for the At-Large Seat 8 on May 15.

Those are huge numbers for a school board race. To put them in perspective, no other school board candidate raised more than $35,000 all cycle. Petty’s opponents, incumbent school board member Donna Korn and challenger Elijah Manley, have raised around $10,000 and $15,000, respectively.

Some of Petty’s donations come from political organizations or politicians supporting his campaign. But many of the contributions are in the $5-$100 range, signaling broad support for his bid for Korn’s seat.

Petty’s daughter Alaina was one of 17 people killed in Parkland back in February. Lori Alhadeff, who also lost her daughter Alyssa in the shooting, has also filed to run for Broward County School Board.

She’s running for the District 4 seat, currently held by Abby Freedman. Freedman has already said she would not run for re-election against Alhadeff.

Alhadeff has not yet filed any fundraising information for May.

Both Petty and Alhadeff have spoken about the need to reform the Broward County School District, including the PROMISE Program. Both say they are willing to work with Superintendent Robert Runcie rather than calling on him to step down.

Petty also serves on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, established to strengthen school security throughout the state to help prevent another shooting.

Janet Cruz and Dana Young, SD 18

Dana Young more than doubles Janet Cruz in May fundraising

House Minority Leader Janet Cruz boasted a $78,975 haul in her second set of fundraising reports since entering the Senate District 18 race but was again overshadowed by Republican Sen. Dana Young, whose reports show $203,550 raised.

“I’m so energized by the outpouring of support and investment in the most flippable seat in the state. We are going to win this so we can pay teachers what they deserve, invest in our schools, expand access to healthcare, and stand up to the gun lobby in Tallahassee,” Cruz said Monday.

Her tally included $48,000 raised via her committee, Building the Bay PC, and $30,975 raised for campaign account. She has now raised $364,670 between the two accounts, including committee funds she raised before filing for SD 18 April 10.

Cruz’s fundraising reports are not yet viewable on the Florida Division of Elections website, though the campaign press release said the two accounts had a combined $341,113 at the ready heading into June.

Young’s haul included $179,500 in fundraising for her affiliated committee, Friends of Dana Young, and another in hard money fundraising 24,050.

OD-EYEPAC sat atop the committee report with a $25,000 contribution. Following at the $15,000 level was Comcast Corporation, Realtors Political Advocacy Committee, Eli Global CEO Greg Lindberg, the Florida Medical Association, Disney Worldwide Services and Floridians for a Stronger Democracy, a political committee linked to the Associated Industries of Florida.

The campaign report included nearly two dozen checks for $1,000, the maximum allowable contribution for state legislative races. It also showed more than $50,000 worth of “in-kind” contributions from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, most of it paying for campaign staff.

After $82,720 in combined spending, Young had $933,000 on hand in her committee account and another $288,000 banked for the campaign, giving her well over triple the cash on hand of Cruz.

Neither Young nor Cruz faces a primary challenger in the race. The election is Nov. 6.

Matt Willhite still running away with HD 86 fundraising lead

State Rep. Matt Willhite is running laps around his Republican challenger when it comes to fundraising, pulling in nearly $18,000 in May.

That leaves Willhite, a Wellington Democrat, with more than $45,000 cash on hand. His only declared opponent, Laurel Bennett, had not filed any fundraising information with the Florida Division of Elections since February when she declared a $25 loan from herself to her campaign.

Bennett also challenged Willhite in 2016, losing 58 percent to 42 percent.

Willhite began his active re-election campaign with a fundraiser late last month. It seems to have paid off, with Willhite raising more money in May than he has in any other month this election cycle.

Willhite served as a firefighter for 20 years and as a Corpsman in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from Palm Beach State College with an associate degree in EMS, Technical Training for Firefighters.

He’s supported by multiple firefighters’ organizations and police unions, earning several donations from those groups in May.

HD 86 covers a portion of inland Palm Beach County, including Royal Palm Beach and Wellington.

Bob Rommel maintains fundraising lead over Democratic challenger

State Rep. Bob Rommel still holds a fundraising lead over his Democratic opponent, but that gap is closing after the candidates filed their May reports with the Florida Division of Elections.

Rommel brought in nearly $16,000 in outside contributions in May, bringing his fundraising total to more than $122,000. That easily beats out Sara McFadden, who is challenging Rommel for the House District 106 seat. She raised just $810 in outside contributions in May.

However, McFadden also loaned her campaign a whopping $40,000 last month. That’s a change-up from previous filings. McFadden has lent $10,000 to her campaign in each month from November through April.

Including those loans, McFadden has brought in more than $114,000 for her campaign. McFadden’s self-funding makes up $100,000 of that total.

That has earned McFadden a slight cash on hand lead over Rommel, a Naples Republican. She sits at about $110,000 cash on hand, while Rommel holds around $107,000.

McFadden appears committed to wresting the seat from Rommel, whose only opponent in the 2016 election was write-in candidate Connor Maguire. Maguire earned just 14 votes out of more than 71,000 cast in the HD 106 race.

It will be an uphill battle for McFadden. HD 106, which covers parts of Collier and Lee counties, leans Republican. The GOP has a 2-to-1 advantage in voter registration.

A third candidate, Kristopher Knudson, has also filed to run as an unaffiliated candidate. He’s not expected to seriously compete for the seat, as he has declared just $150 raised through April. Knudson’s May numbers are not yet available.

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