fundraising – Page 5 – Florida Politics

Philip Levine raises $1.3 million in May, matches it with his own money

Philip Levine continues to set the fundraising pace for Democrats running for governor, raising $1.3 million in May and matching that with another $1.3 million of his own money, his campaign announced Monday.

With that $2.6 million haul, Levine’s official campaign and his independent political committee All About Florida combined now have brought in more than $15 million so far, far ahead of his rivals for the August 28 Democratic primary, his campaign stated.

The others, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King have not yet announced any May fundraising numbers, and their reports will not post until next week. And word early Monday indicated Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene, perhaps the only prospective candidate who can spend more of his own money than Levine, is entering the field.

Levine, the former Miami Beach mayor, also has been burning through money far faster than any of his rivals, having spent more than $10 million through the end of April, mostly on television commercials. The spending has boosted Levine to the top of the polls, and the campaign still is expressing excitement about a survey last week that showed him with a 10-point lead over Graham, who has not yet begun any television advertising.

On the Republican side, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has raised far more money to date. He too has been spending heavily on television in the past two months, while U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has been relying on almost daily appearances on FOX News.

“With primary ballots being mailed in 50 days, Philip Levine is bringing together supporters and donors from all parts of Florida who are ready to break the cycle of Republican control in Tallahassee. Our campaign is building a formidable lead in support, fundraising, and grassroots energy, ” Levine senior adviser Christian Ulvert stated in a news release. “This strong showing of support confirms yet again that our campaign has the backing, momentum, and message to win in August and November, and elect a Democratic candidate to the Governor’s Office for the first time in twenty years.”

Dana Young

Dana Young’s committee previews another six-figure fundraising month

May finance reports aren’t due for more than a week, but preliminary numbers show Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young had already raised $169,500 for an affiliated political committee as of May 24.

The in-progress report for her challenger, House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, shows just $3,000 in committee cash for the month.

According to the May prelims posted on the Friends of Dana Young website, the Senate District 18 incumbent has received 19 checks this month, including eight contributions of $10,000 or more.

The backbone of that haul includes a $25,000 contribution from OD-EYEPAC, received May 11, followed by a half-dozen $15,000 donors: FTBA Transportation PAC, Realtors Political Advocacy Committee, Comcast Corporation, Florida Medical Association PAC, Greg E. Lindberg and Floridian’s For a Stronger Democracy, a political committee chaired by Ryan Tyson.

Disney checked in at the $10,000 level, making for $55,000 in contributions to the committee since 2015.

Spending so far totals about $49,000 and includes $28,000 in payments to Florida Finance Strategies for fundraising work, $10,000 to Issue Management for political consulting and $8,000 to Bascom Communications for communications consulting.

Cruz’ committee, Building the Bay PC, hasn’t reported any expenditures for May. Its lone contribution came in from Southport Financial Services VP Peter Leach.

Young entered May with total fundraising of $1.45 million raised and $1.1 million on hand, while Cruz had a little over $267,000 banked. That included $146,600 in fundraising as a Senate candidate as well as other funds raised prior to her entering the race in the middle of the month.

Campaign and committee finance reports for May are due to the state June 11.

Bill Galvano (Left) and Wilton Simpson (Right)

Bill Galvano, Wilton Simpson raise more than $100K in May

Political committees tied to incoming Senate President Bill Galvano and Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson have pulled in more than $100,000 combined so far in May.

Galvano’s committee, Innovate Florida, has received four checks for a combined total of $55,000 raised so far this month. Topping the donor list is Opa Locka-based Dosal Tobacco Corporation, which pitched in $25,000 on May 5. Prosperity Florida, a political committee tied to former Naples Republican Rep. Tom Grady followed with $10,000 while the Pharmacists for Improved Health Care Outcomes PAC and Mag Mutual FL PAC each gave $5,000.

As of May 25, Innovate Florida’s ledger also showed about $113,000 in spending, including a $75,000 contribution to the Republican Party of Florida and nearly $21,000 in payments to Tampa-based Ground Game Solutions for fundraising work.

The committee had $380,485 on hand at the end of April. It finished last week with $322,380 in the bank.

Innovate Florida was Galvano’s main fundraising vehicle when he was campaigning for Senate President, a role he’s set to fill after the 2018 elections. Since he was named Senate President Designate, however, he’s also been tasked with raising cash for the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee — in his three quarters at the helm, he’s helped that committee reel in nearly $7 million.

Simpson’s committee, Jobs for Florida, had also received four contributions for a total of $66,000 raised as of May 24. Florida Power & Light and Growing Florida’s Future, a political committee tied to former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, chipped in $25,000 apiece, followed by the Florida Medical Association PAC at $15,000 and Sysco Corp. with the remaining $1,000.

Jobs for Florida is also reporting more than $56,000 in spending through Monday, with about $44,000 of those funds heading to Capitol Finance Consulting for consulting and fundraising work. Simpson’s committee finished April with $2.36 million banked.

The Trilby Republican, who is slated to take over as Senate President in 2020, also has more than $330,000 banked for his 2018 re-election campaign in Senate District 10.

Campaign finance reports for the entirety of May are due to the state on June 11.

Putnam Ad 5.17.2018

Adam Putnam’s committee has spent $3.25M this month

Adam Putnam is on a spending spree.

The Republican gubernatorial candidate’s main fundraising vehicle, Florida Grown PC, tacked on another $226,000 in contributions through the first three weeks of May according to contribution reports on its website, but those gains were outstripped by nearly $3.25 million in spending.

Receiving the bulk of those funds was Smart Media Group. The Virginia-based company took in just under $2.8 million for three media buys — $872,000 on May 4, $1 million on May 10 and $925,000 on May 17. That last check was likely drafted to run Putnam’s newest campaign ad, which touts his plan to invest in vocational education and slams so-called “liberal elites” for their perceived lack of respect for trade workers.

The other $425,000 or so in spending included about $160,000 in payments to Chicago-based i360 for database services as well as a $150,000 contribution to the Republican Party of Florida, alongside numerous smaller expenditures.

When it comes to money received, Disney is so far the top donor in May. The House of Mouse gave the Polk County pol nearly $70,000 through a pair of its subsidiaries — $50,000 via Disney Worldwide Services and $19,794 via Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Florida Grown also received $25,000 checks from NBCUniversal, Georgia businessman Wayne Pearson, Lakeland retiree Mark Clayton Hollis Jr. and Building On Your Dreams, a political committee connected to Bradenton Republican Rep. Jim Boyd.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran put some cash on the table, too. His political committee, Watchdog PAC, cut the second-term Agriculture Commissioner a check for $20,000 last week.

Watchdog PAC was Corcoran’s main fundraising vehicle for what most onlookers though would be a gubernatorial — or even Attorney General — campaign in the fall. He ended speculation about his political future a couple weeks ago when he announced he would not make a statewide run and would instead back Putnam over U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the Republican Primary for Governor.

The contribution came in on May 17, about a week after the endorsement.

Following Corcoran’s contrib on the ledger were trio of $10,000 checks, one each from TKM Farms, Saunders Real Estate and former TECO Energy CEO John B. Ramil.

The most noteworthy donor under the five-figure mark was Tallahassee lobbying firm Johnson & Blanton, which received $1.25 million in compensation during the first quarter. That includes $425,000 for its work lobbying the Governor and Cabinet, including Putnam.

As of April 30, Putnam’s committee had raised $23.43 million and had about $15.3 million banked. The 43-year-old Republican has also amassed nearly $5.5 million for his campaign account, with $3.6 million on hand. DeSantis’ April finance reports showed total fundraising of $7.8 million and a little over $7 million banked.

Finance reports covering all of May are due to the state on June 11.

Frank White puts another $1.25M of own money behind A.G. bid

Pensacola Republican Rep. Frank White has boosted his campaign for Attorney General with another $1.25 million in self-funding according to a source close to his campaign.

The cash infusion brings White’s cash on hand up to $3.3 million. That total includes $1.5 million he used to bolster his campaign shortly after it launched in October.

The move gives White a more than $1.7 million hard-money advantage over his leading rival in the Republican Primary, former circuit court judge Ashley Moody. She had $1.45 million in her campaign account heading into May. Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant was in a distant third with $839,000 banked, including $750,000 in loans.

The two-to-one hard money advantage would certainly make an impact when “lowest unit rate” rules kick in 45 days out from the primary election. By making the call two months ahead of that phase of the race, however, White may be signaling that he plans to hit the airwaves hard without waiting for the discount, and possibly even before the qualifying period begins in mid-June.

Self-funding spends the same as money raised the hard way – Philip Levine has effectively bought a ticket to the top of the four-way Democratic Primary for governor by dumping millions of his own money into running ads. The same could be said for Gov. Rick Scott in his 2010 campaign.

White’s campaign has pushed out eight online videos already, including a half-dozen designed to drop into a 30-second TV slot.

If White were to take the Scott/Levine approach and push those or similar ads out to Florida voters, it could help him gain ground on Moody, who leads him in endorsements and true fundraising as well as name recognition.

Moody was the top pick and White was the bottom one in a too-early poll of the Republican Primary for AG. A more recent survey testing Republican candidates against likely Democratic nominee Sean Shaw didn’t even include White as an option.

Donors weren’t far behind for Levine or Scott once they got their names out, either, so White could also be treating the massive amount of self-funding as a strategy to spark interest from donors, who so far have been more keen on sending checks to Moody.

In April alone, Moody nearly tripled White in fundraising if the $50,000 check he received from his in-laws is excluded.

Margaret Gold antes up in HD 44 Dem. Primary

Orlando Democrat Margaret Gold is betting big on her campaign to unseat freshman Republican Rep. Robert “Bobby O” Olszewski in House District 44.

Gold filed for the seat in mid-April and showed $5,430 in contributions during her first two weeks in the race, but she matched that haul nearly four times over with a $20,000 loan.

After spending about $3,300, mostly on campaign staff, she has $22,130 in the bank. That’s good enough to put her on top in the four-way primary race for the southwest Orange County seat.

Olszewski was able to top that without pulling out his own checkbook.

He raised $28,000, including $1,000 checks coming in from several familiar names, including Southern Strategy Group lobbyist Brian Bautista, Disney, the Florida Transportation Builders Association, NBC Universal as well as political committees tied to Palm Coast Republican Rep. Paul Renner, St. Pete Republican Rep. Chris Sprowls and incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva.

The April haul goes down as Olszewski’s best of the 2018 cycle. As of April 30, he’s raised a total of $71,300 and has nearly $60,000 in the bank.

HD 44 has been in Republican control since it was redrawn, though Olszewski has only been in the job for the six months since voters elected him in a special election to replace former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, who left to accept a judicial appointment.

Olszewski won that race over Democrat Eduardo Dominguez by 10 points.

Fellow Republican Usha Jain, who was the fourth-place finisher in the Republican Primary for the special election, continued being a non-factor by posting another fundraising waiver. He has $0 in the bank.

There was more action in the Democratic Primary, however. Gold faces Dominguez, James Matin and former Sen. Geraldine Thompson in the primary race.

Thompson filed in March, but she didn’t show any contributions for the two days she was a candidate that month. Her April report shows $1,060 raised as well as $4,000 of her own money. Her spending was minimal, leaving her with nearly $5,000 on hand at the end of the month.

Matin led the Democratic field in cash on hand prior to Gold’s entry, and after tacking on $2,500 and spending $1,872 he’s firmly in the No. 2 spot with $10,258 in the bank. Dominguez had been the total fundraising leader on the Democratic side, but he also lost that distinction in April. He raised $1,050 for the month and has $5,317 in the bank. His $16,600 fundraising total includes $12,000 in loans.

Jennifer Sullivan cedes ground in HD 31 money race

Mount Dora Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan has gone three months without raising a dime for her House District 31 re-election bid, allowing challenger Debra Kaplan to continue playing catchup.

April saw the Eustis Democrat bring in $2,430 – nearly double what she raised through the first three months of the year and her best fundraising report since filing for HD 31 in March 2017.

That haul came in across 33 contributions, most of them from small-dollar donors chipping in $100 or less. Tavaraes retiree Belita Grassel topped the monthly donor roll with a $500 check.

That total was offset by about $100 in spending, half of it for postage and the rest for petition signature verification, web hosting and credit card processing fees through fundraising platform ActBlue.

Kaplan finished April with just shy of $10,000 in total fundraising and $7,000 in the bank.

That total still puts her far behind Sullivan who, thanks to HD 31’s voter split, is nearly ensured a third term. Thanks to hitting the fundraising trail prior to the 2018 Legislative Session, the second-term lawmaker still has more than half of the $39,800 she’s raised in her campaign account.

After spending $2,350 in April, including $1,000 for consulting work from Gainesville-based Data Targeting Research, she had $21,121 in the bank.

HD 31 covers northeast Lake County and northwest Orange County and has a strong Republican base. GOP voters make up 44 percent of the electorate compared to a 31 percent share for Democrats, who haven’t fielded a candidate since the seat was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections.

Sullivan was elected to the seat without an Election Day challenger in 2014 after taking nearly 35 percent of the vote in a five-way Republican Primary. Her only opposition in 2016 came from unaffiliated candidate Robert Rightmyer, whom she beat 73-27. The seat voted 59-36 for Donald Trump.

Bob Cortes

Bob Cortes cracks $100K raised for HD 30 re-election

Altamonte Springs Republican Rep. Bob Cortes crossed $100,000 in total fundraising last month in his bid for a third term representing House District 30.

Cortes’ April campaign finance report shows $10,650 in new money and $2,775 in spending, bringing his to-date total to $105,325 with more than $85,000 banked.

The new report lists 16 contributions, half of which were for the campaign maximum of $1,000. Top donors included towing company Emerald Transportation and political committees tied to incoming House Speaker Jose Olvia, Palm Coast Republican Rep. Paul Renner and St. Petersburg Republican Rep. Chris Sprowls, who is set to take the gavel after the 2020 elections.

Topping the expenditure list was a $1,500 payment to Tallahassee-based Silver Productions for video work and nearly $1,000 to D&D Enterprises of Sanford for campaign promotional items.

Two Democratic challengers stand between Cortes and a third term: Clark Anderson and Maitland City Commissioner Joy Goff-Marcil.

Goff-Marcil, who filed in mid-February, saw her contributions halve compared to her first two months in the race, though she still holds a substantial lead over Anderson. She raised $3,748 in April and spent $4,350. Through three finance reports, she’s raised $18,638 and has $14,256 in the bank.

Anderson, the first-in Democrat, added $350 to his coffers through more than a dozen small-dollar donations. He spent $500 more than he brought in, however, causing him to dip into the candidate loans he used to jumpstart his campaign in January.

He’s brought in $13,875 since filing, including $10,000 in loans. He has $9,858 on hand.

HD 30 straddles the border of Seminole and Orange counties and includes the communities of Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Eatonville, Fern Park, Forest City, Goldenrod, Lockhart and Maitland. About two-thirds of HD 30 voters live on the Seminole side.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by about 3,000, though Cortes was able to kick out former Democratic Rep. Karen Castor Dentel with a 3-point win in 2014. He followed that up with a 7-point win over Democrat Ryan Neal Yadav in his 2016 re-election campaign.

Tracey Kagan

Tracey Kagan tops HD 29 Democratic field with first finance report

Tracey Kagan raised about $10,000 and put another $5,000 of her own cash on the line to take the top spot in the three-way Democratic Primary for HD 29.

The report, her first since entering the race, was good enough to beat incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Plakon’s $12,690 effort in April.

Outside of the loan and some “in-kind” contributions, the Longwood attorney brought in 64 donations. All but three of those came from donors chipping in $250 or less.

Her top contributors were Orlando homemaker Jackie Pollack and family member Janice Kagan, both of whom gave $1,000. Iris Stockton of Altamonte Springs came in just behind them with a $900 check near the end of the month. Spending was light, with a $587 printing job making up the bulk of her outflow.

Kagan started May with $14,229 in the bank.

She faces Lake Mary attorney Darryl Block and Longwood attorney Patrick Brandt in the Democratic Primary. Block kept up his slow and steady fundraising with $1,175 in new money last month, while Brandt laid an egg for the fourth consecutive month.

Block, who recently qualified for the ballot, has now raised just over $10,000, including $4,500 in candidate loans, since he filed for the race in January. He has about $4,900 in the bank. Brandt has raised $3,787 for his bid, though all of that came in before New Year’s. He has $1,325 on hand.

Far ahead in the race is Plakon, who is currently in the second term of his second stint in the Florida House.

His April report included 33 contributions topped by eight $1,000 checks. Half of those came in from the Strang family – both Steven Strang and Joy Strang gave, as did their companies, Stange Properties and Charisma Media.

The report brings his total fundraising up to $74,040. He finished the month with $67,630. He has another $9,185 stashed away in his political committee, Floridians for Prosperity and Economic Liberty, though it hasn’t added any cash since October.

HD 29 covers part of western Seminole County, including Heathrow, Lake Mary, Longwood, Wekiwa Springs and part of Sanford. There are about 7,500 more registered Republican voters than Democrats within its borders.

The seat is not a total reach for Democrats, however. In 2012, Democrat Mike Clelland pulled off a shocker by defeating former Republican Rep. Chris Dorworth by fewer than 150 votes. Dorworth was in line to be House Speaker after the 2014 elections.

Plakon kicked out Clelland with a 13-point win in 2014. He went unopposed two years later when Donald Trump carried the seat by about 4 points.

David Smith maintains tenfold lead in HD 28 money race

Republican David Smith tacked on another $5,307 in contributions last month for his campaign to succeed termed-out Rep. Jason Brodeur in Seminole County-based House District 28.

Smith’s new report included dozens of small-dollar donations as well as one check for the campaign maximum of $1,000 from a company tied to New York City land developer Richard Birdoff.

Smith, who has so far loaned his campaign $85,000, also chipped in another $2,800 toward his House bid via “in-kind” contributions covering expenses such as catering, postage, office supplies and advertising.

Spending outpaced fundraising for the month, with a pair of payments to Election Management Solutions accounting for more than half of the campaign’s $8,500 in April expenditures. The campaign also spent about $3,500 on media consulting and online advertising from Supernova Digital Communications.

Since filing for HD 28 in February 2017, the Marine Corps veteran has amassed nearly $195,000 for his campaign, including the loans. He started May with about $146,000 banked. He’s also landed a long list of endorsements from area Republicans, including state Reps. Bob Cortes and Scott Plakon, who represent neighboring districts.

Also running for the seat is Democrat Lee Mangold, who added $1,746 and spent $487 in April. A $250 check from Winter Springs resident Matthew Hillman topped his donor sheet, which listed 42 contributions for the month.

Like Smith, Mangold’s report showed him picking up the tab for several campaign expenses, which went down as “in-kind” contributions for the Casselberry Democrat. His expenditures list included a $160 payment to the Democratic Progressive Caucus for a conference fee.

Mangold qualified for the race in early April and is set to be the first Democrat to appear on the Election Day ballot in HD 28 since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections. He also recently announced an endorsement from Orlando Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

As of April 30, Mangold had raised a total of $27,147, including $10,000 in loans, and had $14,417 in the bank.

HD 28 covers part of northeastern Seminole County, including Sanford, Winter Springs, Casselberry and Oviedo. Republican voters make up nearly 40 percent of the electorate in the Central Florida district, compared to a 33 percent share for Democrats.

Brodeur was elected to the old HD 33 in 2010. He has only faced third-party candidates in his three re-election campaigns in HD 28, winning each with around two-thirds of the vote. The seat voted plus-4 for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

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