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Andrew Gillum leading Ron DeSantis for Governor, latest poll says

A new survey from Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics shows Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum with a six-point lead over his Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis.

The poll captured numbers in several competitive races nationwide. The results showed Gillum earning 50 percent of the vote, with DeSantis sitting at 44 percent.

What should worry the GOP: That lead is outside the survey’s four-point “credibility interval,” indicating Gillum’s lead is legitimate.

The overall survey was conducted online Sept. 5-17 and surveyed 1,000 likely voters.

The group also showed Gov. Rick Scott with a one-point lead over incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

Reuters’ poll showing Gillum ahead is in line with other measures of the race giving Gillum the lead.

The newest results also come as President Donald Trump is apparently upset with DeSantis. Trump’s anger reportedly stems from the former congressman’s rebuke of President Trump’s remarks regarding the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

DeSantis’ primary win over Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was largely seen as a result of Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis.

According to POLITICO, Trump feels DeSantis owes him loyalty and he saw DeSantis’ public criticism as a betrayal.

Whether those feelings will linger and lead to a tamping down of support from the President remains to be seen.

Given recent poll numbers and Trump’s grip on the Republican Party base, DeSantis likely needs that Trump bump come Nov. 6.

Rick Scott to attend one-year Hurricane Maria tribute in Puerto Rico

Gov. Rick Scott will travel to Puerto Rico on Thursday, the anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s 2017 island landfall.

Scott will join Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló along with other senior island officials to pay tribute to the lives lost and devastation left behind.

This is Scott’s eighth trip to the island in a year. And comes as the term-limited Governor hopes to ascend to the U.S. Senate after the upcoming election. A Republican, Scott is challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson for the seat.

While the trip was noticed by Scott’s government office and staff, rather than his campaign, both candidates are transparently attempting to capture support from displaced Puerto Ricans, as well as from other Hispanic voters.

For Scott, it’s clear that strategy is working.

A poll earlier this summer showed Scott as more favorable among Latino voters than Nelson. Shortly after Scott entered the race in April, he began airing television ads in both English and Spanish. Last week, Scott’s Senate campaign launched a Spanish-language TV spot distancing the Governor from President Donald Trump, who wouldn’t enjoy nearly as much support among Hispanic voters in Florida.

“When I don’t agree with what President Trump does or says, I’ve said it,” Scott says in the ad, in Spanish.

Scott’s trip to the island comes shortly after he vocally spoke out against Trump last week. The death toll from Hurricane Maria, Trump had claimed, was inflated by Democrats.

Not so, said Scott.

It’s unclear if appearances alongside Rosselló will manifest into anything substantial for Scott’s bid.

He’s garnered support from several other leaders on the island, including from Jenniffer GonzálezColón, who represents Puerto Rico in Congress. But Rosselló has consistently supported Florida Democrats this cycle. Among them: Congressman Darren Soto and then-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham.

Rosselló hasn’t endorsed Nelson, but his father — a former Boricua Governor — backed the incumbent in June.

Keith Perry

Keith Perry has double-digit lead over Kayser Enneking in SD 8

Incumbent Republican Sen. Keith Perry has a big lead over Democratic challenger Kayser Enneking in the race for Gainesville-based Senate District 8.

According to a new survey from St. Pete Polls, Perry currently has 49 percent support compared to just 38 percent support for Enneking. Former Gainesville City Commissioner Charles Goston, who lost his re-election bid earlier this year in a landslide, was the pick for 5 percent of SD 8 voters with the remaining 8 percent undecided.

The 11-point gap between Perry and Enneking stems from the latter’s comparatively week support among registered Democrats, only 63 percent of whom said they planned to vote for the Democratic nominee in November. Perry, who moved up to the Senate two years ago, pulls nearly a fifth of Democratic votes while Goston claims 6 percent with 11 percent undecided.

Among Republicans, Perry dominates with more than 85 percent backing the longtime lawmaker while Enneking and Goston, who made a late-entry as an unaffiliated candidate, combine to 10 percent support among registered Republicans.

By race, Perry leads Enneking 58-32 among white voters, who make up more than 70 percent of the district’s voting age population. Enneking holds a 54-18 lead among black voters, with Goston, who is black, breaking into double digits. Black voters make up about 17 percent of the SD 8 electorate.

Perry also holds a lead among men and women, with the former preferring him 54-35 percent and the latter by a 9-point margin. The Gainesville roofer also leads among all age groups, with a 7-point lead among Millennials, a 5-point edge among Gen Xers and double digit leads among Baby Boomers and voters over 70.

SD 8 is one of a handful of districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the Senate map was redrawn ahead of the 2016 elections. According to the most recent bookclosing report from the Florida Division of Elections, about 55 percent of the district’s population lives in Alachua County, while 30 percent live in northern Marion County and the remaining 15 percent live in Putnam County.

Despite nearly Democrats holding a nearly 24,000-person advantage in voter registrations, Perry defeated Rod Smith, a former Florida Democratic Party chair and state Senator, by about 5 points two years ago. Also in 2016, President Donald Trump carried the district by about two-tenths of a percentage point.

This cycle, Enneking has posted impressive fundraising numbers but she faced an expensive primary election against Olysha Magruder that saw her spend more than $116,000 in hard money in the closing weeks of the race. That spending was brought about after a “dark money” campaign connected to Republican operatives spent well into the six figures bashing Enneking and boosting Magruder through mailers, TV ads and text message outreach.

At the beginning of September, Enneking had raised more than $575,000 between her campaign and committee, Florida Knows Excellence, but she only had about $225,000 left in the bank. Perry, meanwhile, has raised about $738,000 between his campaign and committee, Building a Prosperous Florida, and has about $525,000 banked.

Perry has also received more than $427,000 in “in-kind” support, mostly from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, while Enneking has received about $145,000 in backup from Democratic Party accounts thus far. Goston, for his part, has raised little and does not appear to be actively campaigning for the job.

The St. Pete Polls survey was conducted by an automated phone call polling system on Sept. 17. It received 981 responses from registered voters who said they planned to vote in the general election. Democrats made up 45 sample, while Republicans made up 38 percent and independents made up 17 percent.

The topline results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Court keeps Rick Scott records ruling on hold

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday received a legal ruling that will at least temporarily allow him to keep from turning over his calendar — including information about fundraising events and where he will reside at night — to a health-care organization.

A Tallahassee appeals court agreed to extend a hold on a Sept. 5 ruling that mandated Scott provide the requested information to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has been wrangling with the Scott administration over a canceled Medicaid contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The 1st District Court of Appeal also agreed to expedite Scott’s challenge to Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson’s Sept. 5 ruling that said Scott should turn over the information.

The order extending a stay on Dodson’s ruling negates a move by attorneys representing the foundation to have Scott found in contempt of court and fined $1,000 for each day he didn’t provide the information. The foundation had filed an emergency motion, arguing that Dodson’s 10-day window for Scott to provide the information had expired.

“This earned him a brief reprieve from the contempt,” said Tallahassee attorney Ryan Andrews who is handling the public-records case for the foundation.

In their emergency filing, attorneys for the foundation said holding Scott in contempt and fining him would be the “least intrusive and most effective” means to ensure the governor complied with the initial court order.

“Imposing contempt sanctions are not only appropriate to accord petitioner relief but also proper as this court has the inherent authority to impose such sanctions when a party — i.e. EOG (the executive office of governor) — intentionally or willfully refuses to obey a court order,” the emergency filing said.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed the underlying public-records lawsuit in July after the administration did not provide the requested calendar information in response to a public-records request. The request was made after the state Agency for Health Care Administration did not renew a five-year Medicaid contract with the foundation’s subsidiary, Positive Healthcare, to provide Medicaid services in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

The Scott administration argued that releasing the information could jeopardize the governor’s safety, but Dodson disagreed, noting it “simply is information regarding the governor’s travel schedule.”

Florida governors and other elected officials have routinely released their schedules to the media outlining commitments for each day. Often, those schedules were released in advance.

But the Scott administration has been less forthcoming with the details. And the schedules that get released haven’t always accurately reflected the governor’s meetings

Andrews, a Tallahassee lawyer, said he recalled seeing former governors Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist often walk downtown by themselves. “For them (the Scott administration), to say nobody can know where this governor is, is disingenuous and not supported (by law),” Andrews said. “Their argument is that he’s so unliked that people can’t know where he is because his life would be in danger.”

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation also filed a second public-records lawsuit in circuit court alleging that the administration did not provide records of communications with managed-care plans that bid on the Medicaid contract.

The organization also requested any correspondence between the Scott administration and lobbyists for managed-care plans, a list that includes a lengthy list of Tallahassee lobbyists.

That lawsuit is slated to be heard Friday by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers.

In addition to filing the public records lawsuits in circuit court, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation also has challenged in administrative court the state’s decision not to renew the organization’s Medicaid contract.

The Scott administration has maintained that all the legal wrangling is tied to money. Scott spokesman McKinley Lewis reiterated that argument Tuesday, when he released to the press an e-mail exchange between attorneys for the Scott administration and attorneys for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

In an email, Andrews wrote to Scott’s outside counsel, Barry Richard, and offered a deal to end the litigation. In the exchange, Andrews described a proposed settlement in which the AIDS Healthcare Foundation would withdraw its legal challenges in exchange for a Medicaid contract in Broward, Miami Dade and Monroe counties.

“This vendor offered to drop their two public records lawsuits if they were awarded a state contract — that’s not in the best interests of taxpayers or the patients who will benefit from enhanced HIV/AIDS services that the state is offering,” Lewis said.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation offered no apologies on Tuesday.

“As a public official, Rick Scott should have to appear publicly and answer questions about his policies,” AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein said in a statement. “The court has already ruled that hiding behind a cloak of security is counter to Florida law and the democratic process.”

Rick Scott takes Puerto Rico praise, defends red tide efforts

If Puerto Rico didn’t get what it neaded after Hurricane Maria, that’s a learning experience for everyone and doesn’t reflect on all that Florida Gov. Rick Scott did, and if Florida is experiencing its worst red tides in decades, that doesn’t reflect all that Scott did either.

At a U.S. Senate campaign rally in the Puerto Rico sector of Orlando Tuesday, Scott defended his administration’s record for addressing the water management issues that lead to the Lake Okeechobee discharges, and his administration’s increased investments in efforts to study address  the  algae blooms. But he also  blamed nature for the red tides and said for now only easterly winds could fix them.

Scott also took praise for his administration’s efforts to help Puerto Rico from the commonwealth’s Lt. Gov. Luis Rivera Marín  and other supportive Puerto Ricans in Orlando, who said he helped make life easer for Puerto Ricans on the island and for those who evacuated to Florida.

“It was thanks to the leadership of Rick Scott, a friend, a friend of Puerto Rico,” Rivera Marín said.

And during a brief press availability Scott highlighted Florida’s efforts to help its neighbor, and allowed that if the hurricane response was not all it could be, it was a learning experience.  He declined to say much more in response to a question about the federal response to Puerto Rico’s difficult recovery. He also did not elaborate on the statements he made last week disagreeing with President Donald Trump. who had suggested all went well, and that death counts were exaggerated by his political opponents.

“What you do is you learn,” Scott said of the response to Hurricane Maria, which hit a year ago Thursday.

“I think all of us can do a better job of, one, getting services faster to Puerto Rico. We know it’s more difficult because it’s an island. We could pre-position things better,” Scott said. “Clearly the island has been struggling with a utility system that was already struggling…. But we have got to get services there faster. Hopefully, everybody has learned how to do that.

“As a U.S. Senator, I’ll do everything I can to help build their economy,” Scott added.

There was no mention during the brief rally of the red tides that plague Florida and led to Scott facing large protests in his home terrotory of southwest Florida earlier, except from a media question. And on that, too, Scott suggested his administration was doing all that could be expected and more, touting increases over time in environmental spending. He also took shots at his opponent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, whom he said was doing nothing in Washington.

But ultimately Scott blamed nature, and said that the only thing that could help now is easterly winds.

“It’s horrible. The red tide is horrible,” Scott said. “I think all of us hope the red tide would be gone. It’s naturally occuring. It’s part of the gulf. It’s been around. We’ve had records of it since the 1840s. We’ve done a lot. But it’s not gone, right?

“We need really good easterly winds right now,” he added.

As for the protesters who reportedly all but overwhelmed his stops in southwest Florida, Scott offered that they were exercizing their rights.

After the rally, at the Rigo Tile Gallery Orlando, there were just a dozen or so protesters of the state’s response to the red tides and algae blooms. The protesters actually may have caused less of a scene than a few heated exchanges that took place prior to the rally in the overwhelmed parking lot, as the campaign’s advance people tried to control the flow, with traffic gridlocking in the lot and backing up onto the busy Goldenrod Road.

Ron DeSantis education proposals spotlight workforce training, school choice

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis rolled out a raft of education proposals on Tuesday, fleshing out his platform as the general election season continues.

His timing was no accident. His Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum held a press conference at noon talking about his own proposals.

DeSantis’ plan has considerable overlap in at least one area with that of his dispatched primary opponent, Adam Putnam, who enthused about the need for vocational and trade education.

Vowing to “work with leaders from K-12 schools, postsecondary education, and the business community to better support career and technical education and apprenticeships, and to make sure Florida’s education is meeting the needs of our students and economy,” DeSantis’ words hearken back to the appeals of Putnam on the stump during the summer.

DeSantis also proposes that 80 percent of education spending go into the classroom, with an operational and financial audit of the Department of Education to highlight opportunities for improvement.

School choice is also a priority for much of the Republican’s financial base, and the nominee allays any potential qualms from the donor class. DeSantis “will support school choice options such as public magnet schools, district and non-district managed public charter schools, Florida Virtual School, home education, and the various other choice options.”

He also vows to incentivize teacher retention in high-need areas, such as special needs students, and to tweak performance incentives to have merit pay based on classroom performance.

DeSantis also promises a “complete review” of curriculum standards, including a renewed emphasis on civics education and the United States Constitution in those classes.

Regarding Florida’s higher education system, DeSantis vows to increase performance funding — a model that has been criticized for perceived inefficiencies by universities that have gotten short shrift in the formula.

DeSantis’ proposals got a cool reception from Florida Education Association (FEA) President Joanne McCall.

In a statement, McCall noted that the plan wouldn’t increase education funding, including raising funding levels to assist in recruiting and retaining teachers.

“The bottom line is DeSantis’ education plan will continue to drain more dollars from the system that educates the great majority of our state’s students, and will send that money to unaccountable private schools. It’s a raw deal for Florida’s students, teachers and education staff professionals, and our public schools,” McCall warned.

In Yom Kippur statement, Andrew Gillum vows to protect Israeli ‘safety and security’

Facing criticisms from Republicans of not being sufficiently pro-Israel, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum sought to clarify his position and allay concerns Tuesday.

Gillum’s platform: A statement from his campaign for Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in which Gillum asserted “ensuring lasting safety and security for Israel is an unquestionable priority and that building peace is one of the great causes of our time.”

The candidate notes that the restorative concept of “tikkun olam” is “important and necessary in Israel, where the deadly cycle of violence incited by Hamas continued for yet another year.”

The Democratic nominee describes his own visit to Israel, where he “met Israeli and Palestinian children, who looked at me with the same hope in their eyes,” before again clarifying his position that Israel is besieged.

“I saw first hand how the threat of Katyusha rockets affected the everyday lives of Israelis — no one could deny that ensuring lasting safety and security for Israel is an unquestionable priority and that building peace is one of the great causes of our time,” Gillum asserted.

“Let us work together to fight the scourge of anti-Semitism. Let us look forward to the day when Israeli and Palestinian boys and girls will grow up with peace, security, and prosperity. Let us work together in the cause of peace, to stand with Israel and with all people yearning to be free from violence,” Gillum added.

As the Tampa Bay Times reported this week, Gillum has had to clarify his position on Israel.

While he supports the “two-state solution,” Gillum does not support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, despite having gotten money from the BDS-linked Dream Defenders.

He also has gone on record saying he did not support the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Kelli Stargel leads Bob Doyel by a touchdown in SD 22

Despite Democratic challenger Bob Doyel touting internal poll numbers showing him leading Republican state Sen. Kelli Stargel, the first public poll of the SD 22 general election shows Stargel with an outside-the-margin lead in her re-election bid.

A new St. Pete Polls survey, conducted Sunday, found Stargel up by 7 percentage points among registered voters who said they planned to vote in the general election. The 48-41 percent lead for Stargel comes about a month after Doyel, a retired circuit court judge, circulated an internal poll showing him with a 45-40 lead as well as decent name ID within the district.

Stargel received more than 80 percent support from registered Republicans and held a 45-39 percent lead among unaffiliated and third-party voters. Doyel’s support among SD 22 Democrats was less robust, with 71 percent backing him, 17 percent supporting Stargel and 12 percent undecided.

Stargel’s lead reached 20 points among white voters, who make up about two-thirds of SD 22’s voting age population. Doyel was far ahead among black and Hispanic voters. The sample size for those demographics, however, was small.

By age, Stargel holds 9-point edge among 18- to 29-year-olds and leads by 8 percentage points among the 50- to 69-year-old bracket. The race was tighter among Gen Xers and the over 70 crowd, the former of which preferred Stargel by a 44-40 percent margin and the latter of which broke toward her 46-41 percent.

Doyel trailed by double digits among men, though the race is much tighter among women, who only are only leaning toward Stargel by 2 points, 45-43 percent.

SD 22 covers southern Lake County and northern Polk County and has trended toward GOP candidates in the past despite registered Democrats outnumbering registered Republicans by a couple points.

Florida Democrats are hoping the ‘blue wave’ can put it and other Republican-held Senate seats in play come November, though like in most other FDP-targeted districts, there’s a large fundraising disparity between the GOP and Democratic nominees.

Doyel was challenged by former state Rep. Ricardo Rangel in the Aug. 28 primary and spent a large amount of cash ahead of the 66-34 percent rout. Heading into September, he had about $92,500 in hard money $31,350 in his political committee, Bring Back Democracy.

Through the same date, Stargel had just shy of $240,000 in her campaign account with another $215,250 banked in her affiliated political committee, Limited Govt for a Stronger Florida.

In the 2016 cycle, Stargel scored a 7-point win over underfunded and overmatched Democrat Debra Wright. President Donald Trump also carried the district by nearly the same margin.

The St. Pete Polls survey was conducted by an automated phone call polling system on Sept. 16. It received responses from 569 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Keith Perry - FRSCC Ad

Keith Perry under fire for Facebook ads on Gainesville utility

Gainesville voters will decide in November whether to change the governance of their municipal utility and Sen. Keith Perry, a Gainesville Republican, has been using advertising – some say deceptively – in a push to get the measure passed.

The utility, Gainesville Regional Utilities, is currently under the control of the Gainesville City Commission, but the referendum would transfer its governance to a new panel.

That would include five members, appointed by the City Commission, who could serve up to three four-year terms.

The measure has been panned by city commissioners, as well as the area’s only Democratic member of the Legislature, Alachua  state Rep. Clovis Watson.

Despite the opposition, Perry has made posts on social media claiming that Gainesville City Commissioners Harvey Ward and Adrian Hayes-Santos had joined him in backing the referendum.

Each post included a video ad paid for by the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, the well-stocked GOP affiliated committee chaired by incoming Senate President Bill Galvano that’s charged with supporting Republican state Senate candidates.

“It’s over 90 degrees out, but GRU is turning up the heat,” a narrator says in the ad. “Soaring residential rates. Highest commercial rates. Over $700 million wasted on a disastrous biomass plant. 18,000 can’t pay their bills. The city commission’s solution? Raise rates again.”

Perry then takes over, asking, “How much more cash will GRU burn? Choosing between air conditioning and groceries? That’s nonsense. We need more common sense. We need to hold the city accountable.”

While no commissioner is singled out by name in the video, Perry did name Ward and Hayes-Santos in the text accompanying a pair of posts including FRSCC-sponsored video. Both posts have been viewed 5,000-10,000 times each.

“Enough is enough, the City Commission recently approved a GRU rate increase. Commissioner Harvey Ward and Keith Perry are fighting back. Like and share if you think GRU and the City Commission needs more accountability,” Perry wrote in a Sept. 14 post.

That drew the ire of Ward, who published his own post shortly after the Facebook ad went live saying, “Either Sen. Keith Perry’s campaign team doesn’t clear things with him before they run them OR he is lying.”

“He’s running a campaign spot now that implies I support this foolishness he’s been trying to perpetrate on the people of Gainesville with GRU for years,” Ward continued. “Let’s be clear: I do not support that referendum or Sen. Perry’s re-election campaign.”

Ward later posted a screenshot of a message he sent to Perry’s official Senate email account.

“In a recent campaign ad (attached) you/your campaign imply that Ward and I are working together on your GRU referendum. You know this is not the case. Every Gainesville City Commissioner opposes this referendum, including me,” he wrote in a Saturday email. “Please take the ad down as you know it to be untrue.”

As of Tuesday morning, both ads were listed as “active” according to Facebook’s ad archive.

Ward also posted links to the donation page for the campaign against the referendum, “No GRU Authority,” as well as a donate link for Perry’s Democratic challenger in his re-election bid for Senate District 8, Gainesville physician Kayser Enneking.

The GRU referendum was put on the ballot after a 2017 bill (HB 759) by Newberry Republican Rep. Chuck Clemons was cleared by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Perry shepherded that bill’s Senate companion, and had sponsored similar bills in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Legislative Sessions, when he was a member of the House.

Perry is one of several incumbent Republican state senators facing a serious challenge in the fall, however his campaign and committee accounts are flush with about $525,000 banked between them, with an additional $425,000 worth of “in-kind” support, mostly from FRSCC.

Enneking, meanwhile, has about $234,000 left to spend between her campaign and committee accounts after a costly Democratic primary. She has also received about $145,000 worth of “in-kind” support, mostly from the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

SD 8 covers all of Alachua and Putnam counties as well as the northern half of Marion County. It is one of a handful of districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the Senate map was redrawn ahead of the 2016 elections.

Despite Democrats holding an 8-point lead in voter registrations in the redrawn district, Perry scored a comfortable victory over two years ago as the seat was narrowly carried by President Donald Trump. Both SD 8 and the GRU question will be on the November ballot.

Money comes from near and far in Governor’s race

With money streaming in from across the country, Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum raised more than $2.7 million during the first week in September in their clash to become Florida Governor.

The contributions went to the candidates and their closely aligned political committees, with DeSantis having an edge. The Republican pulled in $1.4 million from Sept. 1 through Sept. 7, while Gillum raised nearly $1.32 million, according to newly filed reports with the state Division of Elections.

The fundraising period represented the first full week after DeSantis, a former Northeast Florida congressman, and Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, dispatched their opponents in the Aug. 28 primary elections. The totals are a hint of what is to come this fall as DeSantis and Gillum compete in one of the biggest Governor’s races in the country — and also don’t reflect the millions of dollars that the political parties and outside groups have already started pouring into the campaign.

DeSantis raised $380,951 for his campaign account and $1.023 million for the committee Friends of Ron DeSantis during the week, the reports show. DeSantis had a combined total of nearly $2.57 million in cash on hand as Sept. 7.

Gillum, meanwhile, raised $874,285 for his campaign account and $445,500 for the committee known as Forward Florida, according to the reports. Gillum had a combined total of about $5.17 million in cash on hand at the end of the period.

As a sign of the high-profile nature of the campaign, both candidates hauled in contributions from across the country — often from small donors.

Among the nearly 2,000 separate contributions that came into DeSantis’ campaign account during the first week of September, about 1,800 were for $250 or less. Contributions came from 49 states, only missing Alaska.

Gillum’s campaign account, meanwhile, received more than 14,000 separate contributions from all 50 states during the week. Of those, Gillum received 13,661 contributions of $250 or less.

Individual contributions to the candidates’ campaign accounts are limited to $3,000, but the closely aligned political committees do not face such limits. As a result, while the candidates’ campaigns received thousands of small contributions, the committees reeled in large checks.

The more than $1 million that the DeSantis committee raised in early September came from 43 donors, according to the Division of Elections website. As examples of the contributions were $250,000 from Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus and $50,000 from Conservative Principles for Florida, a political committee headed by incoming state House Speaker Jose Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican.

The $445,000 raised during the week by Gillum’s committee, meanwhile, came in seven contributions. Among them was a $200,000 contribution from West Palm Beach attorney Chris Searcy, according to the committee’s report.

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