The 2018 election may be a year away, but Florida gubernatorial hopefuls are staying on track to fund their bids to head to the governor’s mansion next year.
According to the latest campaign finance reports, Republicans largely outperformed Democrats in the fundraising game, but Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is giving the ever-growing field a run for their money — literally — as the candidates gear up for a spirited campaign.
Here’s how Florida gubernatorial candidates fared in October fundraising numbers:
When it comes to fundraising, it’s good to be Adam Putnam — the Commissioner of Agriculture has consistently been a powerhouse fundraiser even before he declared he was running for governor, and October was no different.
Last month, Putnam raised the most amount of money of all GOP contenders — $616,000 –through his Florida Grown political committee.
The bulk of that money — $150,000 — coming from the Associated Industries of Florida PAC, which has been a fervent supporter of Putnam in his bid for governor.
While Putnam received numerous donations from agriculture industry donors, Putnam also received several $50,000 donations from Tenet Health, GMRI Inc. (formerly known as General Mills Restaurants Inc.), Jacksonville-based real estate investment company Rayonier and David Jenkins, a retiree from California.
Florida-based supermarket chain Publix also donated $20,000 to Putnam’s bid.
Putnam’s committee spent more than half of the money raised — $353,000 — leaving him with $12 million cash on hand, the highest total of anyone in the GOP field.
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who has yet to formally announce any bid for governor, came in second in the GOP field, raising $267,000 through his Watchdog PAC, which he established this summer.
Corcoran’s largest donation — $50,000 — came from the Voice of Florida Business PAC. Another series of $25,000 donations came from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, School Development Hc Finance, Auto Glass America and Coral Gables-based law firm Grossman, Roth, Yaffa and Cohen.
Watchdog PAC spent $159,000 in October, leaving Corcoran with $4 million cash on hand.
Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala, the only other officially declared Republican candidate for governor, came in third in October’s fundraising numbers, raising slightly less than Corcoran.
Latvala brought in $234,000 last month through his Florida Leadership Committee, with the top donations coming from Florida Jobs PAC, U.S. Sugar, American Traffic Solutions and AFSCME, which donated $25,000 each to Latvala’s committee.
Latvala’s committee spent $140,000 in October, leaving him with a little over $4.1 million cash on hand.
It is unknown how recent allegations of sexual harassment will affect Latvala’s bid for governor. Earlier this month, six women came forward saying they had been harassed or touched inappropriately by the senator.
Latvala has disputed the claims, vowing to clear his name but acknowledged to the Miami Herald he “might not make it to [his] dream job.”
Putnam, Corcoran and Latvala aren’t the only names floating around for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., has also been rumored to be considering a bid for the job.
DeSantis hasn’t been heavily fundraising. Last month, DeSantis raised $76,000 through his Fund for Florida’s Future political committee. The largest donation — $50,000 — came from Connecticut-based investment adviser JAT Capital Partners.
DeSantis spent $12,000 through his committee in October, leaving his committee with $1.66 million cash on hand.
Philip Levine finally jumped into the growing Democratic field for governor earlier this month, but the Miami Beach Mayor has been steadily fundraising — and self-funding — his bid for the state’s top political job for quite some time.
October was a good month for Levine’s fundraising. The gubernatorial hopeful, who is also a successful businessman, surpassed all other candidates in the field, raking in $963,000 for his All About Florida political committee.
The top donation — $160,000 — came from Levine himself. Another $100,000 came from 2201 Collins Fee LLC, a hotel/motel developer.
Levine has largely self-funded his campaign. He’s pumped more than $2.5 million of his own cash into a multimillion million pot for his political committee. Levine doesn’t have any intention of slowing down, either — Levine has said he’s ready to spend as much money as it takes to fuel a gubernatorial bid, possibly dumping $20 million into his campaign.
Levine spent $135,000 last month and ended the month with $5.4 million cash on hand.
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham was one of the first Democrats to jump into the governor’s race. She’s steadily fundraised for most of this year through her Our Florida political committee.
Graham’s largest donation — $18,000 — came from Emily’s List, a national Democratic PAC which aims to elect pro-choice female candidates to office.
Other large donations came from real estate companies like TGG, LLC, which donated $15,000 to Graham’s committee.
Our Florida spent $144,000 in October and ended the month with $1.75 million cash on hand.
Political newcomer and Orlando businessman Chris King is making his first foray into politics and is another candidate who has partially self-funded his campaign.
King raised $55,000 last month, with the largest donation of $25,000 coming from Hillcrest Hampton House, a Winter Park-based real estate firm.
King’s committee expenditures surpassed his donations at $82,000, leaving his committee with $551,000 cash on hand.
Despite being the first to officially declare his candidacy for governor, Gillum has had a difficult time raising enough cash to keep his campaign afloat.
October was no different for Gillum, whose bid for governor seems to be largely under water. The Tallahassee mayor came in last in overall fundraising numbers, with his Forward Florida political committee actually losing $500 in October.
The committee only reported one donation of $2,500 from Virginia entrepreneur Jeff Moten, but had to pay out $3,000 to Tallahassee communications firm P & P Communications Inc.
On top of that, the committee spent $64,000, leaving Gillum in the red for the month of October. Gillum ended the month with only $31,000 cash on hand.