Republican Cabinet candidates bring in cash

Republican Cabinet candidates outpaced their Democratic opponents in fundraising during the second week of September, even as their political committees lag in posting some big-dollar contributions.

State political candidates and committees faced a Friday deadline for filing reports that showed contributions and expenditures from Sept. 8 through Sept. 14.

State Rep. Matt Caldwell, a North Fort Myers Republican running for agriculture commissioner, has raised more than $1 million for his campaign account and the committee Friends of Matt Caldwell since the Aug. 28 primary elections, his campaign said Monday.

But the reports filed before the Friday deadline are more than $500,000 short of that mark, at least in part because they do not reflect some large contributions.

Not included, for example, was $100,000 that a committee known as Floridian’s United for Our Children’s Future — which is linked to the business group Associated Industries of Florida — reported it gave to Friends of Matt Caldwell on Sept. 12.

Similarly, the political committee Growing Florida’s Future, which is tied to former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, reported giving $25,000 on Sept. 10 to Caldwell’s committee.

Caldwell’s campaign said Monday those two contributions were received Sept. 19, after the end of the reporting period.

Caldwell’s committee and campaign reported raising a total of $231,337 from Sept. 8 through Sept. 14. Included in the reports were contributions of $100,000 from the Florida Prosperity Fund, which is linked to Associated Industries of Florida; $25,000 from the health insurer Florida Blue and $5,000 from Gulf Power.

Meanwhile, Caldwell’s Democratic opponent, Fort Lauderdale attorney Nikki Fried, reported $13,164 in contributions to her campaign account and the political committee Florida Consumers First during the same Sept. 8 to Sept. 14 period.

In the race for attorney general, Republican Ashley Moody reported raising a combined total of $91,875 for her campaign account and the committee Friends of Ashley Moody from Sept. 8 through Sept. 14. Democrat Sean Shaw reported raising $82,344 in the same period for his campaign account and the political committee Sean Shaw for Florida.

The report for Friends of Ashley Moody, however, did not include a $115,000 contribution that the AIF-linked Voice of Florida Business Political Action Committee reported giving on Sept. 10.

The Moody committee reported receiving $25,000 from the Crisafulli-linked Growing Florida’s Future and $5,000 from Insuring Florida’s Future, a political committee affiliated with the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida.

In the race for state chief financial officer, Republican incumbent Jimmy Patronis widened his fundraising edge over Democrat Jeremy Ring.

Patronis reported picking up $28,090 during the Sept. 8 to Sept. 14 period for his campaign account and the committee Treasure Florida, compared to $3,975 raised by Ring.

The report for the Treasure Florida committee, however, did not include a $55,000 contribution that the AIF-linked Floridian’s United for Our Children’s Future reported making on Sept. 10.

The AIF committees reported making a number of large contributions during the week to support Republican candidates and committees. The AIF committees also reported receiving chunks of money during the week from businesses such as U.S. Sugar, Florida Crystals, TECO Energy and Florida Power & Light.

Jim Turner is a Capitol reporter for the News Service of Florida, providing coverage on issues ranging from transportation and the environment to Legislative and Cabinet politics, which are some of the areas he worked in 20 years with TCPalm in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Jim grew up in Millburn, New Jersey, where he started his journalism career providing weekly reports on the high school soccer team --- of which he was a member--- to the local Millburn Item. Jim received degrees in journalism and history from High Point University in North Carolina.