Campaign finance documents for the record setting midterm elections show some of the winners among the media and consulting corps. Candidates and committees spent millions on companies to produce commercials and buy broadcast airtime. Millions was also spent to gather signatures and reach voters by mail.
An Alexandria, Virgina firm was a big winner, leading the Top 10 List of vendors for the 2014 election. Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Party of Florida spent $69.3 million through the Multi Media Service Corporation. Three Florida companies appear on the list, Majority Strategies of Ponte Vedra Beach, NoiseWorks Media of Coral Gables and Contribution Link of Tallahassee.
More than $157 million was spent through or with the 10 companies.
Gov. Scott’s Let’s Get to Work Committee, the Republican Party of Florida and the Florida Federation for Children spent $7.8 million on direct mail services with Majority Strategies.
“Voter mail is tried and true,” said Brecht Heuchan of Contribution Link, a Tallahassee data base company.
“While targeting through TV and other electronic communication tools has come a very long way, to reach the individuality of a voter, the mail is still one of the best ways to do it,” said Heuchan. Contribution was 56 on the list, providing data analysis for the RPOF, Let’s Get to Work and all three reelected Cabinet members, Pam Bondi, Adam Putnam and Jeff Atwater.
Florida’s partisan divide can be seen in the numbers. Waterfront Strategies, a media buy and television production company, received more than $6.2 million from among other interests, NextGen Climate and People United for Medical Marijuana.
Meanwhile, Jamestown Associates; direct mail and printing, TV, radio consultant, received $5.6 million from Drug Free Florida and legislative candidates.
The two firms were six and seven on the list.
“When you see how much money is spent on politics in Florida, it is just another example of how politically important the state is,” said Heuchan. “When the stakes are high, and each side of a fight is well financed, they will find the consultants who they think provide the most opportunities to win. There isn’t a way to quantify the value good political advice,”
Mentzer Media Services finished third in billing, the RPOF, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Sen. Joe Negron spent $8.3 million with the Towson, MD media company.
Gov. Scott and the RPOF spent $7.7 million with On Message, the Annapolis, MD consulting company came in fifth.
Another $5.3 million went to McLaughlin & Associates, the eighth highest total. The polling and media company counted CFO Jeff Atwater, Ellyn Bogdanoff and the Floridians for Integrity in Government Committee and the Committee for a Better Florida as clients.
Rounding out the list was the signature-gathering company PCI Consultants Inc., collecting $5.2 million as part of the Amendment 1 and 2 campaigns. And NoiseWorks, a Coral Gables media company which collected $4.7 million from the RPOF, Scott’s committee and Bondi and Atwater.