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Ron DeSantis assembles veteran Florida fundraising team for Senate bid

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On the first day of his bid for the U.S. Senate, Ron DeSantis hit the ground running by naming several veteran political pros to his campaign finance team.

The Jacksonville Republican, a Tea Party favorite, announced on Wednesday that he will seek the seat held by Marco Rubio, who is skipping a re-election bid for a shot at the Republican presidential nomination. The National Review ranked DeSantis as Florida’s third most conservative congressman in 2013.

Gretchen Picotte and Rick Porter from Political Capital will be in charge of Florida fundraising while Erika Sather from Right Solutions Partners will handle national fundraising. Gula Graham will be responsible for PAC fundraising.

In addition, Targeted Victory — the digital firm that handled Rubio’s digital efforts during his 2010 Senate run and Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential effort – will handle digital fundraising.

“I am excited that Gretchen, Rick, Erika, Gula Graham and Targeted Victory are all joining my campaign to reform Washington,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I know it is critical that we raise the resources necessary to spread my message of changing Washington, securing America from threats abroad, and fighting for economic opportunity.”

Picotte is a 15-year veteran of Florida politics, founding Political Capital in 2007 during her time as Florida finance director for the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee. Picotte and her team also ran the finance operations for Freedom PAC – a super PAC supporting both Connie Mack for U.S. Senate and Jeff Brandes for state Senate. During the 2011-12 Presidential Primary, Picotte served as the senior Florida finance consultant for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and later for Gov. Rick Perry, in their respective presidential campaigns.

Porter served with former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez during his Senate bid and as a finance consultant for Adam Hasner’s Senate bid, and later with Hasner as he ran for the U.S. House. Porter also worked for Pawlenty for President, Perry for President, and Brandes for State Senate.

Right Solutions Partners founder Sather raised over $300 million for Senate candidates, Super PACs and 501c4s during her 12-year fundraising career.  She also served eight years as vice president of development at the Club for Growth.  She founded Right Solutions in 2013.

Among Graham’s fundraising clients include U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte, Dan Coats, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Pat Toomey and Florida U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Dennis Ross.

Abe Adams of Targeted Victory had served as deputy digital director of the Romney-Ryan campaign, managing day-to-day operations of over 200 staff and vendors, focusing on online fundraising and marketing strategies. Adams raised over $184 million in small-dollar online donations – a record amount for any national Republican campaign.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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