Ray Rodrigues moved $700K around campaign and political accounts in January
Ray Rodrigues may be able to big time any opposition away.

Ray Zoom
How did you start the new year?

Estero Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues keeps moving money like someone’s challenging his for an open Senate seat.

That includes a stunning $661,500 poured into the Friends of Ray Rodrigues political committee in January alone.

That single political committee now sits on $894,964 in cash on hand.

Of course, that number doesn’t all reflect new money. A full $600,000 of it comes from Free Markets For Florida, a committee tied to Rodrigues for years.

Other significant contributions to Friends include $15,000 from the Millennium Physician Group location in North Fort Myers and $10,000 from Dr. Daniel Dosoretz in Fort Myers.

The committee also accepted a $10,000 donation from Juul Labs, the San Fancisco-based vaping company.

Free Markets, meanwhile, pulled in $17,000 in January. That included a $7,500 donation from Comprehensive Health Management in Tampa.

As far as expenditures, the biggest shift in dollars came in that cash transfer between Rodrigues’ committees, but the long-standing committee also chipped $20,000 into the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

$25,000 also went to the Just The Facts PAC, chaired by Terry Miller, a political consultant working with Rodrigues.

The committee still represents another $392,277 in cash on hand under Rodrigues’ control.

The sitting Representative also pulled in $15,600 into his campaign account in less than two weeks ahead of the start of the Legislative Session, when lawmakers must suspend their fundraising efforts.

That means Rodrigues and his committees moved nearly $700,000 in the 13 days of January when sitting lawmakers were allowed to raise cash.

Yet he remains the sole candidate running to succeed Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto in Senate District 27.

He now has $407916 raised for the run.

Somehow, he’s found a way to spend $125,927 of that on the campaign. That includes sending more than $41,000 to Taylor Strategies in Tallahassee and $18,247 with TM Strategic Consulting in Fort Myers. He also spent $5,000 with Data Targeting Research just in January.

The money comes from around the state. In January, Rodrigues picked up a $1,000 donation from Hertz, the rental car giant headquartered in his district.

He also collected $1,000 from Dr. Michael Katin and attorney Luis Suarez, his largest individual contributions of the month.

There were also $1,000 donations from Dr. James Rubenstein and wife Betty made in early January, but both donations were returned a day before the Legislative Session.

Automated Healthcare Solutions, based in Sunrise, and IWP, a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company, also donated $1,000, as did North Carolina tobacco company RAI Services.

But plenty of Tallahassee sources helped fund the would-be Senator’s ambitions.

The Florida Assisted Living, Florida Independent Automobile, Florida OBGYN, Florida Recyclers Association, and Pathology political committees all also made maximum donations to Rodrigues’ campaign.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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