Democratic House candidate Loranne Ausley‘s recent ad bemoans “special interests” who “run our state government and control our legislators.”
“They get the benefits,” she says in a voiceover. “We get the cuts.”
But campaign finance records show Ausley also has taken thousands of dollars from special interests for a political committee (PC) that she controls.
The story was first reported Monday on Tallahassee political gadfly Steve Stewart‘s blog, Tallahassee Reports.
Ausley, a Tallahassee attorney, opened her “Florida 2020” PC on Oct. 7, 2014, about seven months before she declared her candidacy for House District 9 on May 4, 2015. She’s listed as chair; her husband, William Hollimon, is treasurer.
Since then, the PC has accepted contributions from U.S. Sugar ($5,000), Disney ($10,000), and investor-owned utilities Florida Power & Light ($10,000) and TECO Energy ($5,000), records show.
It also took money from the usually Democratic-friendly Florida Education Association’s political arm ($10,000) and the Republican-leaning Florida Jobs PAC ($5,000), an adjunct of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
The PC’s biggest contributor? Her father, Tallahassee lawyer and former Board of Regents chair Dubose “Duby” Ausley, who gave a total of $35,000.
Florida 2020’s total haul of about $105,500 pales in comparison, however, to Ausley’s general campaign account, which now has raised over $417,000. Those contributions also include TECO and various divisions of Disney, though in smaller amounts of $1,000.
The campaign took money from real estate, insurance, retail, and other interests, all in smaller individual amounts.
Republican challenger Jim Messer‘s campaign, which so far has raised less than half of Ausley’s campaign war chest, focused on local givers, including businesses and lawyers. Messer also is an attorney.
Ausley, in an email, said she’s “honored by the contributions I’ve received from friends and neighbors in all walks of life.”
“Their support is not a reflection of any votes I have taken or may take in the future, but rather a reflection of their experience working with me,” she added. Ausley previously held the seat from 2000-08, when she was term-limited.
The district traditionally swings Democrat: It’s entirely within Leon County, where registered Democrats currently outnumber Republicans. Ausley and Messer are seeking to replace Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, who herself is now term-limited.
“They know that I am open-minded, honest, and fair, and that I come to every problem seeking an equitable solution for all parties,” Ausley said. “I’m proud that such a diverse group of Floridians is looking forward to working with me again.”