State matching funds buoy Charlie Crist’s campaign cash

Crist Fried DeSantis
Not including Crist's state matching funds check, Gov. Ron DeSantis' fundraising again dwarfs Democrats.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist’s campaign received its first injection of state matching funds, a $964,646 check that arrived in time for the latest campaign finance report.

With that lump sum, another $108,826 his campaign raised from private donors during the seven-day period of July 16-22, and $107,560 raised by his independent political committee, Crist’s campaign appeared to have a very good week. On paper at least, Crist’s efforts looked, for a change, to not be dwarfed by that of the re-election campaign for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis also has applied for matching funds, as has Crist’s Democratic Primary Election opponent, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Neither had deposited any state matching funds checks before the July 22 deadline for the latest report.

Heading toward the Aug. 23 Democratic Primary, Crist and Fried also began spending big money through their political committees, as did DeSantis, who doesn’t have a Primary Election to worry about.

Crist’s political committee, Friends of Charlie Crist, paid for $340,000 worth of TV time in the mid-July reporting period.

Fried’s political committee, Florida Consumers First, paid $200,000 for a run of digital ads during mid-July.

Meanwhile, DeSantis is mobilizing a massive, paid grassroots effort in advance of the November General Election. DeSantis’ campaign sent $2.2 million to Blitz Canvassing of Denver to pay for a canvassing campaign.

At this point, DeSantis’ campaign fund and his political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, combine for more than 10 times more campaign cash available than either of the Democrats wanting to challenge him in November.

Overall, including the state matching campaign funds, Crist raised about $1.2 million for his campaign and political committee combined during the week ending July 22. In the latest report, his campaign held about $2.9 million cash in hand, while Friends of Charlie Crist held about $4.3 million.

The week saw Friends of Charlie Crist deposit $22,000 in checks from the Service Employees International Union, $17,500 from Paula Abramson of Washington and $10,000 from the Yerrid Law Firm of Tampa. His official account took in 4,344 contributions, including $3,000 from the SEIU and 13 other checks of at least $1,000, mostly from Florida individuals.

Fried raised $52,000 combined for her campaign and political committee. At the end of the latest reports, her campaign held $1.4 million in the bank, while Florida Consumer First also held about $1.4 million.

Florida Consumers First picked up $10,000 from Josh Durbin of New York and 15 other checks. Fried’s official campaign collected 728 checks during the week, including nine for at least $1,000 from various individuals around Florida.

DeSantis’ campaign and political committee combined to raise about $1.7 million during the week. His campaign ended the reporting period with $5.6 million cash in hand, while Friends of Ron DeSantis had $122.5 million in the bank.

Friends of Ron DeSantis received $200,000 from Speaker-designate Paul Renner’s committee, Conservatives for Principled Leadership, $100,000 from Derek Carr of Boca Raton, $100,000 from Gregory P. Cook of Utah, $61,000 from Doug Quezada of California, $50,000 from Andrew John Mayer of Jacksonville and $50,000 from Howard Fineman of Jacksonville Beach

The PC collected 55 more checks of at least $10,000. DeSantis’ official campaign attracted 5,033 checks, including 51 for at least $1,000.

DeSantis’ official campaign also got another $68,000 in in-kind contributions of staff and consulting from the Republican Party of Florida during the week.

Scott Powers

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 [email protected]


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