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Rick Scott pours another $18 million of his money into U.S. Senate campaign

Republican Gov. Rick Scott tapped his own wealth in August and September to the tune of more than $18 million to fuel his U.S. Senate campaign.

The contributions, listed in the latest campaign finance reports covering the period of Aug. 9-Sept. 30, brings Scott’s total personal contributions to his campaign to almost $39 million, accounting for 70 percent of the nearly $54 million his campaign had raised through the end of the third quarter of 2018, and the campaign had spent nearly all of that going into October.

Meanwhile the re-election campaign of his opponent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has raised just under half as much  – but none of it through Nelson’s wealth – and spent about a third as much so far as Scott’s campaign has done.

And as a result, Nelson entered the stretch run on Oct. 1 with more campaign cash on hand, though Scott’s personal contributions may continue.

On Oct. 2, Nelson’s campaign reported having $8.6 million in the bank for the stretch run. Scott’s campaign reported having $2 million, according to the latest campaign finance reports posted by Tuesday by the Federal Election Commission.

Since the pre-primary campaign finance report for the period that ended Aug. 9, Scott’s campaign reported raising $4.9 million from individuals, $306,000 from political action committees, and $18,275,528 million from Scott’s own contributions. That presented a total raised during the seven-week period of $23.5 million.

Scott’s personal donations included $275,528 in his in-kind contributions, mainly campaign transportation aboard his private jet.

He also made pretty much weekly contributions in the millions of dollars cash. On Aug. 15, he gave his campaign $2.5 million; on Aug 21, $3 million; on Aug. 28, $3 million; on Sept. 7, $1.5 million; Sept. 17, $4 million; and Sept. 24, $4 million.

Scott’s campaign also spent $24.9 million during that period ending Sept. 30.

That brought the total spent to date by Rick Scott for Florida to $52.7 million, with five weeks left in the campaign.

During the same period Nelson’s campaign reported raising $5 million from individuals, $176,000 from PACs. With a few other receipts and refunds, that meant his campaign cleared $5.3 million in the seven weeks after Aug. 8.

Nelson’s campaign spent $11.3 million during the period.

Yet the campaign had held back spending for months, so through Sept. 30 Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate had spent only $18 million.

All of this is in addition to the money being spent on the race by outside groups. Various political committees trying to get Nelson elected have spent $25 million campaigning in Florida so far, and political groups trying to get Scott elected have spent $17 million.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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