Putnam leads money chase in March

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam continues to dominate the fundraising field in the 2018 race for governor, reporting his campaign’s best monthly total of $2.28 million in March.

New reports filed with the state Division of Elections showed that Putnam, who is seeking the Republican nomination to replace term-limited Gov. Rick Scott, eclipsed his prior best month when he raised $2.25 million in February 2017.

Putnam collected $1.776 million in his Florida Grown political committee and $505,000 in his regular campaign account in March, the state records show.

He had collected a total of nearly $27 million since he started and had over $19 million in unspent funds heading into April. Candidates will formally qualify for the governor’s race in June.

Among the largest contributions to Putnam’s political committee last month was $450,000 from PACs linked to Associated Industries of Florida, a major business-lobbying group, and $200,000 from Disney Worldwide Services, Inc.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Palm Coast Republican who is also seeking the GOP nomination for governor, raised $1.53 million in March, records show.

His political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, collected slightly more than a $1 million, while his regular campaign account received $533,000. One of his largest contributions was $250,000 from Elaine Wold, a Boca Raton philanthropist.

Through his campaign account and the committee, DeSantis had raised nearly $7 million as of March 31 and had about $6.5 million in unspent cash, records show.

Another potential Republican candidate, House Speaker Richard Corcoran of Land O’Lakes, reported raising about $250,000 in March for his “Watchdog” political committee,

Corcoran, who has not announced his candidacy, was not able to raise money during the 2018 legislative session. He resumed fundraising after the session ended on March 11.

In total, Corcoran had raised about $6.86 million through his committee and spent $4.64 million through March, records show.

In the Democratic race for governor, Philip Levine, a former Miami Beach mayor, raised $547,000 in March and bolstered his total with a $970,000 personal loan, records show.

Levine’s All About Florida political committee raised $317,000 and his regular campaign account took in about $230,000 in March. One of his largest contributions was $100,000 from Robert Rubinstein, a Miami lawyer.

In total, Levine, a millionaire businessman, has raised more than $8.7 million and has loaned his campaign more than $2.8 million, records show. The campaign and committee had spent $8.6 million as of March 31.

Another Democrat, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, raised $611,000 in March, records show.

Her regular campaign account collected $309,000 and her Gwen Graham for Florida political committee raised $302,000, records show. Her largest contribution was $50,000 from Emily’s List, a political organization that supports the election of women who support abortion rights.

In total, Graham had raised $6.5 million and spent $2.5 million as of March 31, records show.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, meanwhile, had his strongest fund-raising month in nearly a year, raising $329,000 in March, records show.

Gillum collected $206,000 in his Forward Florida political committee and another $123,000 in his regular campaign account.

In total, Gillum had raised $2.6 million and spent $1.5 million as of March 31.

Winter Park businessman Chris King, another Democratic contender, raised $184,000 in March and loaned $425,000 to his campaign, records show.

King raised $166,000 in his Rise and Lead, Florida political committee and another $18,400 in his regular campaign account.

He had raised a total of $3.7 million and spent $1.9 million as of March 31, records show.


Information provided by The News Service of Florida.