Does Jeff Vinik like Charlie Crist three times more than he likes Nikki Fried?
Nikki Fried has no worries about Charlie Crist. Or so she says.

Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 2.20.12 PM
Vinik donated to Fried, but he gave more to Crist.

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, through his private investment firm America Investment Holdings LLC, donated $16,000 to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s political committee in her bid for Governor.

POLITICO first reported the contribution, but it’s pretty clear it came from a tip-off from Fried’s team.

That’s not unusual and, in itself, isn’t necessarily worth pointing out. Of course a candidate would want to tout a major contribution from a big-name donor out of one of the state’s most important voting blocs.

No, what makes it funny is this:

The same Vinik entity also kicked in $41,000 to U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s PC, Friends of Charlie Crist, according to reports on its website. Sources tell Florida Politics he added another $9,000 in hard money not yet visible in public record.


So, it raises the question: Does Vinik support Crist three times more than he supports Fried?

It’s not unusual for deep-pocketed individuals and groups to throw down cash on more than one competing candidate. It happens up and down the ballot, from St. Petersburg’s mayoral election — where developers dropped cash for more than one top-polling candidate — all the way up to presidential races. Developers, special interest types and the sort, all want to make sure they’ve got a seat at the table with whomever wins. This isn’t new.

But it’s often telling when they give more to one candidate than another, in this case by a big difference.

Fried is, of course, up against Crist for the Democratic nomination for Governor. And she could use a boost. Polls consistently show her lagging behind Crist, and both of them behind incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis.

She’ll still be able to tout that sweet, sweet Vinik money. But she had better hope Team Crist doesn’t take the opportunity to grab some low-hanging fruit and slather on a little snark by pointing out they actually got more.

And while I’m at it, let’s also take a second to tease POLITICO’s Gary Fineout for a second. In his initial reporting, he referred to Vinik as the owner of the Tampa Bay Rays. Another oops, but hey, we all fumble from time to time (to add a third sport into the mix) and he has since corrected the oversight.

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.


  • Kathy Morales

    August 19, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    It’s proof that big money only has their own agenda by playing both fields. It’s of no benefit to the citizens of Florida and only a way to control his business in the event that either wins. Wake up Floridians money shouldn’t be what wins the ticket, our voices are.

  • Ed

    August 19, 2021 at 5:13 pm

    He’s throwing his money away. Neither one stands a chance against DeSantis.

  • Zhombre

    August 19, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Perhaps Crist asked for more money.

    • Zhombre

      August 19, 2021 at 8:05 pm

      Or simply is better at wheedling

  • PeterH

    August 19, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    After the primary, my money will go to support ANY CANDIDATE who runs against Ron DeSantis.

    • Ed

      August 20, 2021 at 6:56 am

      Good for you. You can waste your money as well..

  • Anna

    August 21, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    My neighbor’s aunt makes 62 every hour on the internet..ttp she has been without work for eight months but the previous month her revenue was 19022 only working on the laptop 5 hours a day..

    check this ……

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn