Top Republican lawmakers scored big in October fundraising reports
Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, listens to Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, during the Senate's Committee on Rules Friday, April 28, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo by Phil Sears)

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Top Republicans in the House and Senate brought in saw huge committee fundraising gains in October, with Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson leading the pack with $645,000 raised.

Simpson, a  Trilby Republican, is likely to take over as Senate President for 2021-22, brought in 75 contributions through Jobs for Florida, including nine contributions of $25,000 or more.

Topping the donor roll was the political arm of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association, which gave checks combining $67,500, followed by health insurer Florida Blue at $35,000.

Coming in at the $25,000 level were auto company JM Family Enterprises, Florida Crystals, Q Link Wireless, Sunterra Florida, private prison business GEO Group, and the Voice of Florida Business, a political committee tied to the Associated Industry of Florida.

Simpson’s committee also spent $110,000, including $47,670 in payments to Capitol Finance Consulting, a $25,000 contribution to Liberty Florida, and another $20,000 to Citizens Alliance for Florida’s Economy, chaired by uber political consultant Anthony Pedicini.

Simpson closed out the month about $2.16 million in his committee account.

Following Simpson was Republican Rep. Chris Sprowls, who is set to become speaker in 2021. He raised $190,000 for his political committee, Floridians for Economic Freedom.

The committee’s top donors for the month were Wal-Mart and Florida Blue, which chipped in $20,000 each, followed Windermere attorney Kimberly Russo and RAI Services Company, the parent of company RJ Reynolds Tobacco, both of which gave $15,000.

Another eight donors gave $10,000 apiece, including Publix Super Markets, PepsiCo, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and USAA.

Spending came in at a modest $3,900, leaving Sprowls’ fundraising vehicle with $592,655 to work with heading into November.

Senate President-Designate Bill Galvano and House Speaker Designate Jose Oliva, both set to take command after the 2018 elections, also showed six-figure hauls for their political committees last month.

Galvano, a Bradenton Republican, brought in $121,500 through Innovate Florida, which at the end of the month had $427,552 on hand.

Wal-Mart gave $50,000 of that money in an Oct. 20 contribution, while publicly traded health insurance group Centene Management Company and public employee trade group AFSCME Florida gave $25,000 apiece.

A political committee tied to the Florida Transportation Builders Association gave $10,000, as did the Florida Chamber of Commerce, with convenience store chain Wawa chipping in $1,000 and Boeing tossing in $500.

Oliva’s committee raked in $145,000 with a similarly short donor list.

Conservative Principles for Florida took in five $25,000 checks for the month, one each from the Voice of Florida Business, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Florida Blue, Florida Power & Light and JM Family Enterprises.

After paying DRC Consulting $10,000 and spending another $5,000 to sponsor a Miami-Dade Republican Party event, the committee closed out the month with $559,998 in the bank.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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