Adam Putnam and undeclared candidates have most cash for Florida governor’s race

Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam rolling out his 2018 campaign for governor in Bartow on May 10. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

In his 2018 campaign for governor, Republican Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is simply in a different financial league from any of the other declared candidates in the race.

Reports filed Thursday show Putnam began this month with $12.4 million in cash on hand — more than double the combined total of Democrats Gwen Graham, Chris King and Andrew Gillum.

Putnam’s nearest competitors, cash-wise, are three undeclared candidates.

A committee supporting Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine began August with more than $4.4 million in the bank for Levine’s potential Democratic candidacy. A committee led by state Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater — who is expected to launch a Republican gubernatorial campaign next week — has more than $3.8 million in cash on hand. Another potential Republican candidate, House Speaker Richard Corcoran of Land-O’Lakes, began August with nearly $2.8 million in a PAC he controls.

Here’s the latest rundown:

• Putnam’s main campaign raised another $250,380 in July and had $1.5 million in cash on hand while his Florida Grown political committee took in $1 million during the month and had $10.85 million in the bank.

• Former U.S. Rep. Graham of Tallahassee is the leading Democratic fundraiser. Her main campaign collected $224,817 in July and her Our Florida committee took in $138,045. The two entities began August with a combined $2.25 million in cash on hand.

• Winter Park businessman King began August with nearly $1.7 million in cash on hand between his campaign and his Rise And Lead Florida committee. King has put in $1 million of his own money.

• Tallahassee Mayor Gillum had a lackluster fundraising month in July, garnering only $58,534 between his campaign and his Forward Florida committee. He has a combined $652,434 in the bank.

• Levine’s All About Florida committee raised $500,750 in July, with Levine himself supplying $275,000 of that. In all, Levine has given nearly $2.6 million to the committee.

• Corcoran’s Watchdog PAC raked in $818,500 in July. Two West Palm Beach law firms — Searcy Denny Scarola Barnhart and Shipley and Lytal Reiter Smith Ivey and Fronrath — gave $100,000 apiece to the PAC.

• Latvala’s Florida Leadership Committee raised $362, 155 last month. Latvala is expected to announce his campaign for governor next Wednesday at events in Hialeah, Clearwater and Panama City.

• A committee called Florida Leadership Fund is expected to back U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Palm Harbor, in a bid for governor or attorney general. The committee collected $320,000 in July, including $300,000 from a pro-DeSantis federal PAC, and has $1.2 million cash on hand.

Author: George Bennett

George Bennett has been a Palm Beach Post reporter since 1992. He grew up in Bethesda, Md. and is a graduate of The George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @gbennettpost

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