Florida governor money chase: Putnam outraises DeSantis in first head-to-head month

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, shown campaigning for governor in Riviera Beach last year, remains the top fundraiser in the 2018 race for governor. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis‘ campaign for Florida governor has the Twitter backing of President Donald Trump and a finance team that includes Sheldon Adelson and other Republican heavyweights — but DeSantis raised less new money in January than Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the Republican race for governor, according to finance reports filed Monday.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Palm Coast.

DeSantis’ campaign advertised a gaudy $3.3 million January haul — but more than $2.4 million of that figure was raised last year by a pro-DeSantis PAC and transferred to a new PAC in January.

Putnam and DeSantis topped the Democratic candidates for governor in January fundraising. Here’s a look at the latest numbers:

• Putnam collected just over $1 million in January between his main campaign account ($379,452) and his Florida Grown political committee ($654,000). He began February with nearly $16.8 million in cash on hand between the two committees.

• DeSantis, who announced his candidacy on Jan. 5, raised $894,020 in new contributions in January. That includes $131,019 collected by his main campaign committee and $763,001 raised by a new PAC called Friends of Ron DeSantis. The Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC also received more than $2.4 million from the Fund For Florida’s Future, a PAC formed by DeSantis supporters last year that raised more than $2.6 million through the end of December. The Fund For Florida’s Future nearly zeroed out its account last month, giving $2 million to the new DeSantis PAC on Jan. 18 and another $447,394 on Jan. 31.

All told, DeSantis began February with more than $3.3 million in cash on hand.

• A third Republican who is expected to join the governor’s race, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O’Lakes, began this year with more than $5 million in his Watchdog PAC. A January report for the PAC was not available online early this morning. Corcoran is expected to announce his candidacy in March after the legislative session ends.

• Republican Jack Latvala, who resigned from the state Senate amid groping and sexual harassment allegations, has not formally shuttered his campaign for governor and has more than $4.3 million cash on hand between his campaign committee and Florida Leadership Committee. His January expenditures included $105,100 in legal fees.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine at a Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee meeting in January. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

• In the race for the Democratic nomination, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine raked in the most January money. His All About Florida PAC collected $647,000 while his main campaign raised $105,894. Levine began February with  $4.1 million in cash on hand between the two entities.

Levine so far has poured more than $3.6 million of his own money into the race.

• Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham raised a combined $453,906 during January and began February with nearly $3.3 million in cash on hand.

• Winter Park businessman Chris King raised $260,683 in January and started this month with almost $1.7 million in cash on hand.

• Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum started this month with $676,528 in available cash between his campaign and his Forward Florida PAC after raising $148,746 in January.

 

 

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