fundraising Archives - Page 2 of 47 - Florida Politics

Casino stakes anti-Amendment 3 group with $525K

The political committee fighting against a proposed constitutional amendment to limit gambling expansion brought in $525,000 from the parent company of Miami’s Magic City Casino.

The committee, Vote NO on 3, received the check from West Flagler Associates on July 31. That stack is the only contribution the committee has reported since it was formed early last month.

Vote No on 3 spent nearly all of that cash shortly after the it cleared by way of a $523,600 radio buy through Miami-based IGT Media Holdings on Aug. 3. The only other expenditure was a $20 wire transfer fee, leaving the account with $1,380 in the bank at the close of the July 28 through Aug. 3 reporting period.

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.

The committee backing the amendment, Voters In Charge, has received a heavy amount of support from Disney and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, who both have a stake in limiting the expansion of gambling in the state. Each chipped in $5 million in April; the committee has not posted any fundraising since then.

Overall, the pro-Amendment 3 effort has received nearly $16.75 million in contributions and has about $10 million at the ready. Earlier this week, Voters in Charge announced plans for a $30 million ad buy.

Amendment 3 is one of 13 measures that will go before voters in the 2018 general election. Proposed amendments need at least 60 percent approval to be added to the state constitution.

Jeff Greene pumps another $4.5 million into Governor campaign

Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene has put another $4.5 million behind his bid to be the Democratic nominee for Governor, bringing his total investment to $18.1 million through just two months in the race.

Greene’s new report, which covers July 21 through July 27, is his biggest yet. The South Florida real estate investor seeded his campaign with $3.6 million when he entered the race at the beginning of June, and has kept up with loans ranging from $1 million to $3.5 million after June 22, when statewide candidates had to begin reporting their hauls on a weekly basis.

The cash infusion came alongside $705 in contributions from 25 small-dollar donors chipping in between $5 and $100 apiece. Greene told Florida Politics shortly after entering the race that he would open the campaign up to donors giving $100 or less so that they could participate in his campaign. To date, donors have chipped in $1,355.

Also included in the report was another $4.6 million in spending, including $3.75 million in media buys and numerous bills for other types of advertising, including a $205,300 direct mail campaign through Jacksonville-based Street Smartz Consulting.

In total, Greene had spent $17.83 million from June 1 through July 27, finishing the current reporting period with $272,206 in his campaign account.

That level of self-funding (and spending) puts him squarely in the No. 2 position, money wise. Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine currently leads the Democratic field with $23.75 million in receipts between his campaign and political committee, All About Florida, including $15 million of his own cash.

In the polls, however, it’s former Congresswoman Gwen Graham who leads the five-way primary contest.

The most recent measure, put out by the Associated Industries of Florida, shows her with 35 percent support among primary voters, followed by “not sure” at 23 percent. Levine and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum each showed up at 14 percent while Greene was the pick for 12 percent in that poll, which left out Orlando-area businessman Chris King.

Greene did show much higher support in a public poll released by St. Pete Polls last week. Graham still led the race with 29 percent support in that survey, but Greene came in second place with 23 percent followed by Levine at 19 percent, Gillum at 12 percent and King at 3 percent.

The primary election will be held Aug. 28. The winner of the Democratic nomination will face either U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis or Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on the November ballot.

Former Wrigley Co. CEO helps Surterra land $65M for expansion efforts

Medical marijuana company Surterra Wellness closed another successful round of equity fundraising that will allow it to start some substantial construction projects in the Sunshine State.

The company, founded in 2014, said it closed a $65 million “Series C” equity fundraising round in July. Series C funding is when investors put cash into companies that have shown viability in order to help them expand and grow at a more rapid clip.

Surterra, which runs 10 dispensaries in Florida, said some of that cash would be used to construct “substantial cultivation space in Florida” and double the number of its employees to 750 by the end of the year. Also in the cards: Building partnerships with other consumer brands, accelerating product development and conducting clinical research trials that test the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating maladies such as anxiety, pain and PTSD. Surterra also has a license to sell medical marijuana in Texas and has an application pending in Virginia, CEO Jake Bergmann said Tuesday.

While Florida will get plenty of love as Surterra expands, the company said the funding will also help them establish roots in new state markets across the country.

The new round of funding was led by Wychwood Asset Management, the direct investment arm of William “Beau” Wrigley, Jr. As his name suggests, Wrigley was the one-time head of the Wrigley Company, the chewing gum empire founded by his family in the late 19th Century.

Wrigley’s role in securing the new round of funding for Surterra landed him the chairmanship on the company’s board of directors. Prior to the Wrigley Company’s acquisition by fellow confectionary giant Mars, Beau Wrigley was at the helm through a period of growth and navigated numerous acquisitions, including those of Altoids and LifeSavers.

“I am thrilled to join the Surterra team and help drive their mission to build a best-in-class cannabis healthcare business,” Wrigley said. “After extensive diligence, we determined that Surterra has the highest quality standards, best products, and most professional management team in the industry.

“We believe in the ability of cannabis to improve quality of life for patients across the country, and we are excited to build a global industry leader for the long term,” he concluded.

Surterra CEO Jake Bergmann said the company was “proud to welcome Beau, a business leader who brings decades of world class experience and expertise in brand building, to Surterra Wellness. Having a seasoned industry veteran like Beau intimately involved in building Surterra’s business is exciting for the future of Surterra, our patients and the entire medical cannabis industry.”

The Wrigley funding, which took place last month, is the latest in a number of recent transactions in the state’s budding medical-marijuana industry.

In an agreement announced last month, the Canadian firm Scythian Biosciences Inc. said it intends to spend $93 million to purchase a majority of 3 Boys Farms — a Florida medical-marijuana operator that has yet to begin selling products to patients — and an unnamed “health care organization.” In June, California-based MedMen announced it was paying $53 million to acquire Eustis-based Treadwell Nursery, another of the state-licensed “medical marijuana treatment centers.”

Since lawmakers in Florida first legalized non-euphoric medical marijuana in 2014, the state’s cannabis industry has been plagued by legal and administrative challenges, delays in implementing the constitutional amendment and drawn-out rulemaking processes that have created frustration for legislators, patients, operators and investors.

A Tallahassee judge last week ruled that a state law capping the number of medical marijuana operators “directly contradicts” the 2016 constitutional amendment, which was approved by more than 71 percent of voters. But it’s unclear what, if any, impact Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson’s decision will have since he did not stop health officials from continuing their current processes.

Still, marrying Wrigley — whose namesake brands have been found in checkout lanes around the world for more than a century — with one of the state’s leading marijuana purveyors can be seen as another step toward putting cannabis, which requires a doctor’s approval, in a category with other household-name products.

“This is about helping people. It can give people a normal life, let them go to school and be a normal member of society. It is incredible to craft that opportunity in an industry that is starting from scratch,” Wrigley said in the statement.

The candy heir pointed out that three-dozen states have some sort of authorization for cannabis.

“Once people can get over the perception curve, they see the many benefits of this,” Wrigley said.

Janet Cruz and Dana Young, SD 18

Dana Young maintains threefold cash lead over Janet Cruz in SD 18

Republican Sen. Dana Young reported another $93,745 in fundraising last week, helping her hold on to a threefold cash lead over in her Senate District 18 re-election bid against House Minority Leader Janet Cruz.

Young’s new reports, covering July 21 through July 27, show $32,650 in hard money and another $61,095 in receipts for her affiliated political committee, Friends of Dana Young.

The campaign tally included more than two dozen checks for $1,000, the maximum allowable contribution for state legislative campaigns, with another slate of checks coming in at $500 or less.

The committee report was topped by a $15,000 contribution from tobacco company Reynolds American, followed by $10,000 checks from the political arm of the Florida Transportation Builders Association and Citizens for Fiscal Leadership, a political committee associated with fellow Republican Sens. Denise Grimsley and David Simmons.

At the end of the reporting period, Young had $1.5 million in the bank.

Young was elected to the northwestern Hillsborough County district in 2016, but due to the shake-up caused by redistricting she and other state Senators in even-numbered districts must run for re-election after only two years. She and Cruz, who is wrapping up her fourth term representing House District 62, are the only candidates running for the seat.

Cruz’ new reports showed $10,682 in hard money and another $9,900 raised for her political committee, Building the Bay PC, for a combined haul of $20,582 last week.

The campaign cash came in across 49 checks, including five max checks and another 29 contributions from small-dollar donors chipping in $100 or less.

On the committee side, the bulk of her haul came in through a $7,500 check from the Alliance for Progressive Representation, a political committee chaired by Mark Herron, a Tallahassee election-law attorney who works with Democrats. Floridians for Common Sense, a committee tied to St. Petersburg Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson, chipped in $2,000.

Through July 27, Cruz had raised a combined $464,590 between the two accounts with $415,538 at the ready.

SD 18 is one of two districts on FDP’s wish list that was carried by Hillary Clinton two years ago, and a recent poll shows a tight race between Young and Cruz, with Cruz holding a slim advantage.

Young recently challenged Cruz to two debates ahead of their general election showdown. After poking Young for being down in the polls, spokesperson Kevin Cate said the Cruz campaign would reach out to the debate organizers and that the campaign was “eager to debate expanding access to affordable care, more funding for schools, and common-sense gun reform.”

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Ed Hooper clears $650K raised, Amanda Murphy cracks $100K in SD 16 battle

Former state Rep. Ed Hooper continued piling on to his fundraising lead in the race for Senate District 16, adding $37,156 to his war chest last week.

Hooper, a Clearwater Republican, is running against former state Rep. Amanda Murphy, a New Port Richey Democrat, for the Pinellas and Pasco-based state Senate seat that was held by Sen. Jack Latvala before his resignation late last year.

Between July 21 and July 27, Hooper raised $21,156.00 in hard money and tacked on another $16,000 via his political committee, Friends of Ed Hooper. That haul included a $15,000 check from Working Together For Florida PAC, the main fundraising vehicle of Naples Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, a candidate for the 2022-2024 Senate presidency.

Hooper’s accounts only shelled out $5,575 during the weeklong reporting period, including $2,086 for email and social media marketing and a host of charges for canvassing work. All told, Hooper has raised nearly $660,000 between the two accounts since entering the race in early 2016. He had $492,647 banked at the end of the reporting period.

Murphy, meanwhile, showed $4,615 in contributions for her campaign account last week while her two political committees — Working Towards Florida’s Future and Taxpayers for Responsible Government — haven’t shown signs of life since shortly after she entered the race in mid-May.

Her new report included a check from personal injury law firm Disparti Law Group for $1,000, the maximum allowable contribution for state legislative races, as well as 22 smaller contributions, most of them from individuals. The report also showed $20,000 worth of “in-kind” support from the Florida Democratic Party to cover research and campaign consulting costs.

After spending just $225 for the week, Murphy had $28,293 left in her campaign account. Including committee cash, Murphy has raised $103,625 between her three accounts and had a combined $86,763 on hand on July 27.

Murphy is the lone Democratic candidate running for SD 16, while Hooper faces some nominal opposition in the Aug. 28 Republican primary. Hooper’s opponent, Palm Harbor restaurateur Leo Karruli, has raised $5,446 and kicked in another $30,025 in candidate loans. His new report shows him with a negative balance in his campaign account.

SD 16 has a Republican edge — it voted plus-12 for Donald Trump in 2016. However, polling has consistently shown the seat is winnable for a Democrat. A June survey from St. Pete Polls shows Hooper and Murphy in a competitive race, with Hooper holding a 45-43 advantage. That edge falls within the poll’s margin error.

Rebekah Bydlak increases fundraising lead in HD 1 Republican primary

Gonzalez Republican Rebekah Bydlak turned in another $10,000 finance report Friday, adding to her already immense lead over former Republican Rep. Mike Hill in the race for House District 1.

After tacking on another $10,300 in contributions, Bydlak has now raised $168,300 for her state House run, more than triple the tally of Hill, who has brought in just over $50,000 since entering the race in September 2017. A third Republican, Lisa Doss of Milton, is in a distant third with $2,542 in receipts since signing up for the contest just ahead of the candidate qualifying deadline.

Bydlak’s new report includes eight checks for $1,000, the maximum allowable contribution for a state legislative race. Those max donors include personal checks from Lewis Bear and his wife, Belle, who run an Anheuser Busch distributorship. The beverage industry also showed up with a pair of max checks from the Florida Beer Wholesalers Political Committee and the Florida Beer Wholesalers Good Government Committee, while the political arm of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association also chipped in $1,000.

The new report, which covered July 21 through July 27, also showed more than $30,000 in spending with the majority of that cash paying for advertising — Bydlak started hitting TV early last month with an ad touting her as the “fresh conservative voice” in the race. Gainesville-based GOP data firm Data Targeting also picked up $3,725 for a direct mail campaign.

Bydlak had about $96,000 on hand at the close of the reporting period.

Hill, meanwhile, showed $1,450 in new money as well as $11,641 in spending in his new finance report. The inflow came in across a half-dozen contribs, the largest of which were $300 checks from fellow insurance agents Debbie Dell and Michael Lovchuk.

Spending included a $5,758 direct mail campaign through Pensacola-based Evergreen Marketing Solutions as well as another $3,840 in advertising, possibly for more mailers, through Sanford-based firms Creative Printing & Publishing and Central Florida Publishing.

The former lawmaker, who served in the House from 2013 through 2016, has raised $50,170 for his comeback bid thus far, and had $8,805 at the ready on July 27.

The winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary will face either Vikki Garrett or Franscine Mathis, both Pensacola Democrats, in the Nov. 6 general election, though HD 1’s strong Republican lean virtually assures the Republican nominee will succeed term-limited Rep. Clay Ingram come Election Day.

HD 1 covers the bulk of Escambia County, including the communities of Century, Molino, Gonzalez, Ensley, Ferry Pass, Belleview and Brent. Ingram has held the seat since it was redrawn in 2012. Before that, he held the old HD 2.

Ashey Moody

Matching funds fuel fundraising win for Ashley Moody

Former circuit court judge Ashley Moody topped the field of candidates running for Attorney General last week thanks in large part to cashing her first six-figure matching funds check.

Moody, a Republican backed by term-limited AG Pam Bondi, brought in nearly $374,000 between her campaign and political committee, Friends of Ashley Moody, for the reporting period covering July 21 through July 27. That haul included a $283,748 check from the state matching funds program.

The 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.

Moody’s primary opponent, Pensacola Rep. Frank White, has roasted her for accepting those funds. The Moody campaign hit back by saying the matching funds program is meant to prevent self-funding candidates, including White, from spending their way into public office.

Also included in Moody’s reports were eight campaign contribs for $3,000, the maximum allowable donation for statewide races, as well as several dozen more from small-dollar donors. The committee ledger showed a $25,000 check from Floridian’s United for Our Children’s Future, a political committee chaired by Ryan Tyson, the VP of political operations for Associated Industries of Florida.

Spending for the two accounts combined to $40,682, with nearly all of those funds paying for printing and design work done by Jensen Beach consulting group Strategic Image Management. The light spending comes one week after Moody’s campaign account shelled out $423,620 for a media buy.

Moody has now raised more than $3.6 million for statewide bid. She had $1.83 million in the bank on July 27.

White’s finance reports showed $165,260 in new money. His political committee, United Conservatives, pulled in $132,500 of that cash, while the balance headed to his campaign coffers.

Included in the committee report were two $50,000 checks, one from political committee Liberty Foundation of Florida and another from Pelopidas LLC, a St. Louis-based conservative consulting group. The campaign account received two-dozen contributions, including a quartet of max checks.

White’s spending cracked $525,000 for the week, with $416,000 of that sum paying for another round of campaign advertising. White was the first AG candidate to hit the airwaves, putting $1 million behind an early June media buy well before the “lowest unit rate” rule kicked in 45 days out from Aug. 28 primary election.

In all, White has amassed more than $4.5 million between his two accounts and had $1.65 million banked on July 27. His tally includes $2.77 million in self-funding and at least $400,000 in contributions linked to his father-in-law, car dealership magnate Sandy Sansing.

A recent survey from St. Pete Polls showed White with a 7-point lead over Moody in the primary race, though more than half of likely Republican voters said they were undecided. When it comes to the general election, polls have shown Tampa Rep. Sean Shaw, the likely Democratic nominee, with a lead over either Republican.

Shaw trails both GOP contenders in fundraising, though he also got his first matching funds boost last week.

His first payout clocked in a $139,000 and made up the bulk of the $198,400 he raised last week between his campaign and political committee, Sean Shaw for Florida.

The new reports pushed him just over the $1 million mark in total fundraising since he entered the race in January. He has $493,240 at the ready.

Shaw’s primary opponent, Odessa attorney Ryan Torrens, is lagging considerably. Through more than a year in the race, he’s raised $130,400 and kicked in $8,450 in loans. As of July 27, his campaign was barely above water with just $10,450 on hand.

Shaw has filed a lawsuit against Torrens alleging that he improperly qualified for the ballot. A court hearing for that lawsuit has been set for Aug. 22, just six days ahead of their head-to-head showdown at the polls.

Matching funds fuel $1M-plus hauls for Ron DeSantis, Adam Putnam

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis brought in more than $1 million apiece between their campaigns and political committees last week, according to newly filed campaign finance reports.

Putnam, per usual, brought in the most. His haul included nearly $1 million in campaign funds and another $587,100 in soft money raised via his affiliated political committee, Florida Grown.

DeSantis, meanwhile, reeled in $726,837 in hard dollars with the balance of his $1.3 million haul coming in through his committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis.

The biggest benefactor for each candidate was the state of Florida by way of campaign matching funds. Putnam cashed his first check from the state, which rang in at $932,471, on July 27. DeSantis drew down his first payment, which measured in at $643,225, on the same day.

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.

Though it topped the charts for both Republicans, taxpayer funds weren’t the only six-figure checks heading to the GOP rivals.

DeSantis, the preferred candidate of President Donald Trump, received $500,000 in committee cash from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson. Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, is currently the second most prolific political donor of the 2018 election cycle, having given more than $30 million to various Republican candidates across the country.

Putnam’s committee report showed another $500,000 in support from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which endorsed his bid to succeed term-limited Gov. Rick Scott back in May.

As of July 27, Putnam had raised $36.8 million for his gubernatorial campaign and had about $7.3 million in the bank between his two accounts. DeSantis, who joined the race after New Year’s, has now raised just shy of $15 million and has $4.2 million at the ready.

The pair are less than four weeks out from the Aug. 28 primary election that will decide which of the two will represent the Republican party on the November ballot. Recent polls of the nominating contest show DeSantis with a double-digit lead over Putnam, who had been the frontrunner prior to Trump wading into the primary battle.

The winner of the Republican primary will go up against one of five Democratic hopefuls in the Nov. 6 general election.

Greg Steube - CD 17 Campaign Photo

Outside money pours into CD 17 Republican primary between Julio Gonzalez, Greg Steube

The race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney in Florida’s 17th Congressional District is heating up.

In July alone, outside groups spent nearly $1 million boosting state Sen. Greg Steube and besieging state Rep. Julio Gonzalez, the two leading Republicans vying for the expansive and solidly Republican congressional district.

Most of that cash — $569,052 as of July 31 — has paid for messaging touting Steube, a Sarasota Republican who entered the race within days of Rooney’s announcement that he wouldn’t run for re-election in the fall.

Club for Growth Action is responsible for more than $500,000 of that spending, including a $432,000 TV buy placed on July 20. The Liberty and Leadership Fund plunked down another $45,000 for a pair of direct mail campaigns supporting Steube, one on July 18 and another on July 25, while the With Honor Fund pitched in the remaining $16,500 for polling on July 9.

Liberty and Leadership also paid for another pair of mail campaigns opposing Gonzalez that rang up at the same $45,000 price tag as its pro-Steube campaigns, while National Horizon weighed in against the Venice Republican with a $112,000 transaction for media production and placement.

There’s likely more where that came from.

Club for Growth and Liberty and Leadership put out a joint announcement last month touting more than $1 million in fundraising to support Steube’s congressional bid. As of now, the two groups have spent $614,400 so they should have plenty of gas left in the tank for the last four weeks of the primary race.

Whether With Honor, a veterans group that endorsed the former U.S. Army Captain, has more expenditures lined up is unknown.

There’s some money working against Steube, too.

The Conservative Leadership Alliance put down $200,000 to oppose Steube. How the funds were used wasn’t listed in the transaction report, though the cash went to FlexPoint Media, a strategy group that specializes in digital media distribution.

The large influx in independent spending is in addition to the six-figure campaign accounts sported by both candidates. Through the second quarter, Steube had raised more than $400,000 in hard money, $15,000 of it candidate loans, while Gonzalez had brought in more than $458,000 including $150,000 in loans.

On the endorsement front, it’s not as close. Gonzalez got an early nod from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, but Steube launched his campaign with dozens of backers already in tow, and has since added received an official thumbs up from several conservative groups, including the National Rifle Association.

On Wednesday, his list of backers grew with the addition of Sarasota GOP chair and state Rep. Joe Gruters.

“The President needs allies in Congress,” said Gruters, who is running for Steube’s state Senate seat. “Greg has proved to be a staunch conservative who will fight for President Trump’s agenda in Washington. I am proud to endorse his candidacy.”

The endorsement from Gruters, who was Trump’s Florida campaign chair, comes after the Steube campaign publicized negative tweets Gonzalez made about then-candidate Trump in March 2016.

Gonzalez and Steube are running alongside lesser-known Republican Greg Akins in the Republican primary for CD 17, which sprawls across parts of Sarasota, Lee and Polk counties as well as the whole of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Jason Pizzo

Jason Pizzo adds another $125k in loans to his campaign

Jason Pizzo has added another $125,000 in loans to his campaign in an effort to unseat state Sen. Daphne Campbell in Senate District 38.

The newest self-funding spree came during the period of July 7 to July 20, according to a recent report filed with the Florida Division of Elections. He also added more than $5,000 in outside donations during that period.

Pizzo, a Miami attorney, has now poured in $275,000 in self-loans, on top of more than $110,000 in donations.

He’s also spent more than $260,000 of that money, including more than $60,000 last period. Much of his recent expenditures have gone toward direct mail and door hangers (more than $31,000), canvassing ($4,335) and voter outreach ($4,000).

During the same period, Campbell raised just over $7,000 in donations while spending more than $11,000. That’s yet another financial period where Campbell has spent more than she’s taken in.

The majority of Campbell’s expenditures from last period were used to pay consultants ($4,350) and work on advertisements (more than $3,200).

Pizzo is challenging Campbell in the SD 38 Democratic primary after losing a similar bid in 2016. However, that field featured six challengers, whereas this year’s election in a one-on-one contest between he and Campbell.

No Republican filed to run in the race.

SD 38 covers parts of Miami-Dade County including Miami Beach, North Miami and Bal Harbour. The primary election will be held Aug. 28.

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