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Senate Republican committees post major fundraising numbers

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Republican state Sens. Jack Latvala and Joe Negron may have posted big-time fundraising numbers last month, but they weren’t the only Senate Republicans raking in contributions.

The political committee supporting Bradenton Republican state Sen. Bill Galvano for Senate president brought in $207,500, its best fundraising performance since February, and it only took 10 contributions to hit that mark.

Innovate Florida’s biggest contributions came from the U.S. Sugar Corp. and Florida Power & Light topped the list, each giving $50,000, with the Florida Hospital Association giving $30,000 and Beall’s writing a check for $25,000.

The 2018-20 Senate president-designate also got $10,000 checks from Florida Blue, Agro-Industrial Management, the Florida Biomass Growers Association and Benderson Development Co.

September expenditures totaled $32,207, leaving Galvano’s committee with more than $771,000 cash-on-hand heading into October. The Manatee Education Foundation, a nonprofit supporting PreK-12 education in Galvano’s home county, got $15,000 of that money, and Tampa-based Ground Game Solutions got $10,614 for a consulting contract and travel reimbursements.

Former Senate President Tom Lee also broke the six-figure mark with $134,050 in contributions to his committee, The Conservative. The Florida Hospital Association and pediatric healthcare group MEDNAX each gave $25,000 followed by the Delray Recovery Center and the Realtors Political Advocacy Committee at $10,000 each.

The committee only spent $12,271 last month, though $1 million of its cash reserves were transferred to an interest-bearing account. Not including that money, the Brandon Republican’s committee has $511,439 on-hand.

Republican state Sen. Wilton Simpson, next in line for the presidency after Galvano, collected eight checks totaling $59,500 in contributions through his Jobs for Florida political committee.

The Trilby senator’s top donation was a $25,000 check from US Sugar Corp., with Disney and the Committee for Anesthesia Safety contributing $10,000 each.

Jobs for Florida had $30,591 in expenses last month, leaving the committee with $636,593 on-hand. Tallahassee-based Meteoric Media Strategies got $12,500 from the committee for media services and Capitol Finance Consulting was paid $7,500 for consulting work.

The committee also cut a $1,000 check to incumbent Republican Daniel Burgess’ campaign in House District 38. The 29-year-old representative is currently running unopposed for a second term in the lower chamber.

Hialeah Republican state Sen. Rene Garcia’s committee, People in Need of Government Accountability, topped its August numbers with an $87,500 haul in September.

Hialeah-based MRI office Springs Crossing Imaging was the biggest donor at $27,500, followed by real estate development group The Canyon Family and advertising house Trispark Media, which gave $12,500 each. The committee also picked up $10,000 checks from Path Medical Center and Action for Behavior Health, a political committee backed by the Florida Council for Behavioral Health.

Committee expenditures totaled $7,170 and included a $5,000 gala sponsorship for His House Children’s Home and a $1,000 check to his own re-election campaign. The final tally puts Garcia’s committee at $512,827 cash-on-hand.

Contributions drop off after the top four. State Sens. Rob Bradley and Lizbeth Benacquisto each brought in around $30,000 through their committees, with most remaining senators reporting less than $10,000 in September.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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