Palm Beach County GOP touts $1.1M haul in Q1. It all happened at Mar-a-Lago

Chairman Kevin Neal Lincoln Day
The Palm Beach County GOP last quarter received close to 250 individual donations.

The Republican Party of Palm Beach County is celebrating a massive fundraising haul from the first quarter of 2024, when it amassed well over $1 million.

Most of it came during a single event at Donald Trump’s “Winter White House.”

Between Jan. 1 and March 31, the Palm Beach County GOP collected $1,156,538 in donations and received $16,500 worth of in-kind aid for direct mail advertising.

That intake is more than any county Republican party has ever raised in a single quarter, Palm Beach County GOP Chair Kevin Neal said.

It’s also close to double what the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) raised through its state account in the same period, according to state records. The FDP said it raised $1.3 million altogether in Q1, including funds collected through its federal account, for which official figures are due Saturday.

Neal told Florida Politics all the cash donations his party received came through ticket purchases for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club resort in the town of Palm Beach.

More than 800 people attended the dinner, which Neal said also set a record for the single most successful fundraising event for a state Republican party in Florida history. Neal chaired the Lincoln Day Committee and organized the event, which culminated in a keynote speech by Trump.

Other speakers included U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott; U.S. Reps. Kat Cammack, Matt Gaetz and Anna Paulina Luna; Florida GOP Chair Evan Power; and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Actor and producer Kevin Sorbo of “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” fame emceed the event. Miss Florida 2023 Juliette Valle performed the National Anthem.

Neal presented a “Lifetime Achievement Award” to Trump and a “Statesman of the Year Award” to Gaetz, who called the evening’s festivities “the most remarkable Lincoln Day Dinner” he’d ever attended.

“Statesman of the Year” honoree Matt Gaetz was appropriately impressed with this year’s Lincoln Day Dinner. Image via Republican Party of Palm Beach County.

In turn, Neal and Election Operations Co-Chair Michelle Russo received the “Jean Pipes Outstanding Republican Award” in recognition of their volunteerism.

“We were excited to see supporters in attendance who have supported our local party for years as well as many new supporters who we hope will continue to support our local party in the future,” Neal said in a statement. “Palm Beach County is turning red faster than many realize and the primary objective for our fundraising at this event is to get Republicans elected in Palm Beach County and that is what we plan to do.”

The Palm Beach County GOP last quarter received close to 250 individual donations, 50 or so business donations and around half a dozen contributions from political committees.

Atop the list was Sunrise-based insurer Enhance Health, which gave in $60,000. Private prison operator The Geo Group donated $25,000. Florida Power & Light chipped in $12,500.

Ex-President Donald Trump takes the stage with an introduction by Palm Beach County GOP Chair Kevin Neal. Image via Republican Party of Palm Beach County.

As is typical in South Florida, the Palm Beach County GOP’s coffers benefited from the generosity of real estate interests. The Miami Association of Realtors donated $25,000, as did Texas-based investor Rollingwood Assets LLC, Orlando-based Realtors Political Advocacy Committee, Fort Lauderdale-based construction firm Moss & Associates and Megatel Homes, a homebuilder headquartered in the Lone Star State, each donated $20,000 apiece.

Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar Corp. gave $12,500, as did West Palm Beach-based Florida Crystals.

Neal, a real estate developer, donated $17,000. Florida Leadership Fund, the political committee of Dade City state Rep. Kevin Steele, contributed $12,500. So did Protecting Florida’s Future PC, which ex-Hudson state Rep. Amber Mariano runs.

Deborah Adeimy, who is again running to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, gave $5,175.

People for Coastal Common Sense, a Jensen Beach-based PC that last month unsuccessfully backed ex-Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger’s re-election effort, donated $2,400.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Sara Baxter gave $2,000.

The Palm Beach County GOP also received $1,000 contributions from the Republican Party of Florida, Stuart state Sen. Gayle Harrell, Lake Clarke Shores Council member John Maples and Marco Island Council member Greg Folley, who is seeking the open seat representing House District 81.

The party spent $438,000 last quarter on ads, texting, supplies, security, food and drinks, web services, payroll, sponsorships, voter data access, campaign support, tax compliance, signage and donation processing fees.

It had $778,000 left going into Q2.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

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