The frontrunners for the 2022 Florida Senate Presidency have spent the last few months adding funds to their political committees and, more importantly, using that money to help out a handful of potential backers when it comes time to vote in a couple years.
Sens. Travis Hutson and Dana Young are still the top contenders for the job and each has been successful on the fundraising trail since October.
Young has raised nearly $200,000 to Friends of Dana Young since October, including $68,500 in December, which put her with $690,585 cash on hand at the start of the year. The Tampa Republican also spent about $63,000 in committee cash during that span.
Much of that money went toward various consulting contracts and fundraising expenses – she is up for re-election this year, after all – though she still extended a helping hand to a pair of possible supporters.
Back in October she chipped in $10,000 to a committee supporting Clearwater Republican Ed Hooper’s campaign to replace former Sen. Jack Latvala in Senate District 16. She followed that up in December with a $1,000 check to Stuart Republican Sen. Gayle Harrell’s re-election campaign for Senate District 25, which isn’t up until 2020.
During the same stretch Hutson pulled in $114,000 for his Sunshine State Conservatives committee, though he capped off the year with $0 in contributions last month. He also spent about $25,000, leaving him with nearly $160,000 to play with as of New Year’s Day.
The St. Augustine lawmaker hit Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry and Rockledge Republican Sen. Debbie Mayfield with $1,000 checks in December.
A handful of sources told Florida Politics in October that Perry had already thrown his support behind Hutson in the Senate President race, joining Mayfield as one of his key supporters.
While nothing’s been made public in the interim, Perry’s district has a Democratic lean and his chief opponent is close to the $150,000 mark in fundraising, so getting some support from Hutson’s committee puts a little weight behind the rumors he’s in Hutson’s column.
Hutson had already given Perry $1,000 in August, and last cycle he stepped in with a pair of $1,000 checks during Perry’s bruising 2016 race against former Democratic Sen. Rod Smith.
Other current or aspiring senators getting support from Hutson earlier in 2017 include Aaron Bean, Dorothy Hukill and Hooper.
Since Election Day 2016, Young has helped out the campaign account of Sen. George Gainer, as well as Rep. Ben Albritton, who is running for SD 26 this year, and Reps. Jason Brodeur and Jeanette Nuñez, who are running for senate seats in the 2020 cycle.