Will Mary Thomas be owned by D.C. special interest group Club for Growth?

Mary Thomas copy 2

What does it say when a candidate is backed primarily by a single special interest group?

As the race in North Florida’s 2nd Congressional District heats up, a flood of money has engulfed the Aug. 30 Republican primary, a contentious three-way contest where each candidate seeks to outdo the other for the title “most conservative.”

A majority of the nearly $1.6 million benefiting CD 2 Republican hopeful Mary Thomas seems to come from a single source — the conservative action group Club for Growth. The group, which had most notably backed the failed presidential bid of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, is making a major play in CD 2.

Club for Growth, which also has been behind several anti-Donald Trump campaigns, has provided nearly 60 percent of the financial support for Thomas’ congressional bid.

Thomas, a government attorney who had worked in Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, faces Panama City surgeon Neal Dunn and Ken Sukhia, a former federal prosecutor, for the seat now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham. After redistricting made CD 2 a more reliably Republican district, the winner in Tuesday’s primary will have a better-than-average shot at becoming the next U.S. representative from North Florida.

Club for Growth is a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group that seeks to promote “conservative values” — limited government, lower taxes, prosperity, and opportunity. On its website, the Club’s stated mission is to take on “any member of Congress on policy who fails to uphold basic economic conservative principles … regardless of party.”

According to Federal Elections Commission records accessed Thursday, Club for Growth so far has sunk $756,028 into the CD 2 race. Hard-dollar contributions filed by the Thomas Campaign reported Club for Growth bundling another $173,561, making an overall $929,589 the conservative action group has either directly given or bundled.

In addition, FEC reports also show $838,941 in receipts for Thomas (a number that includes money bundled by Club for Growth).

This makes $1,594,969 in total dollars for Thomas’ campaign, 58 percent of which can be directly attributed to a single special interest group. Most of that money has been used for a variety of campaign costs — including things such as internet, TV ad buys and direct mailers — either supporting Thomas or opposing Dunn.

Thomas, who recently snagged the endorsement of former presidential candidate and Libertarian Rand Paul, has become a champion for the conservative cause.

But when a single group has a majority interest in your campaign, it leads to an obvious question — who will own Mary Thomas should she win CD 2?

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected]


  • Martha Jo

    August 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks for this, Phil. To answer your question, Club for Growth will own Mary Thomas. It is excessively obvious that they are pulling Rand Paul’s strings with this endorsement. Do we want to vote for a candidate who has based her entire campaign on tearing down her opponents with falsehoods and dirty campaign tactics? A candidate, who like you said, has received the majority of her campaign donations from one special interest group? Mary Thomas is not who we need in Congress. It’s also worth mentioning that she is paying out thousands of campaign dollars every month to Jamestown Associates, the company that employees her husband as Executive Vice President. To me, that seems as though she is taking campaign funds and funneling them right back into her very own pocket.

    • Concerned 2d District Voter

      August 25, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      That’s exactly right, MarthaJo, about the Jamestown connection with her husband (John Konkus). It rather seems like money laundering. Makes one wonder whether the contributor(s) know that it/they are essentially supporting the family.

  • Concerned 2d District Voter

    August 25, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Amazing but unsurprising. This is a put-up candidate (or someone with a big ego lucky enough to find a backer for whom to advocate) who has been running since 2015. The public can and should cansider that she has not spouted an original, substantive thought during the campaign. Words have been scripted generalities or tag lines. This article clarifies the identity of the main script writer and financier. What (financial) skin does she have in the game? Where will her loyalties necessarily be? Not hard to figure out. At best, it is intellectually dishonesty to say that she represents the interests of Republicans of the 2d Cong. District as she is financed by outside insiders. At worst, the money issue coupled with no record of substantive accomplishment, how could she be elected in November? Congress does not need another pre-packaged puppet who is beholden to others; we have lots of them already

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn