U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist pulled in $1.5 million in his first month since entering the race for Governor.
“I cannot express my gratitude to the people of Florida enough for their overwhelming support as we kick off this campaign to build a Florida for all,” Crist said. “We’re building a grassroots campaign with support from people across the Sunshine State to defeat Gov. Ron DeSantis and open doors of opportunity for every Floridian. This is only the beginning — and together, we can accomplish anything.”
The St. Petersburg Democrat now has about $1.8 million in the bank, according to a news release from his campaign. The total includes $1.35 million in new fundraising and $185,000 transferred from his congressional reelection campaign.
Most of the money is housed in his new Friends of Charlie Crist political committee.
Based on interim fundraising records previously reported by Florida Politics, Crist is attracting several high-dollar donors.
Launch backers include South Florida philanthropist Barbara Stiefel and lawyers Francoise Haasch and Michael Trentalange; all three wrote $100,000 checks to the committee.
Crist announced his gubernatorial bid in May and has adopted an aggressive travel schedule since — making stops across his home turf in the Tampa Bay area as well as the Panhandle, South Florida and Central Florida.
The fundraising announcement comes one day after Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s only Democrat in statewide office, entered the primary race to challenge incumbent Republican DeSantis.
Through the end of May, Fried had about $1.5 million in her political committee, Florida Consumers First.
Early polls show Crist as the front-runner for the primary nomination. St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, found him up by more than 30 points in a head-to-head primary race, 55%-22%.
Though both Democrats sport seven-figure accounts, their fundraising totals pale in comparison to DeSantis’. The incumbent has recorded a string of multimillion-dollar months. He raised more than $5 million in May; in April, he snagged nearly $14 million.