Florida Republicans Dominate Chase For Campaign Cash

November 4, 2012

In an advantage that could ripple through races statewide, the Republican Party of Florida has raised nearly $14 million since Aug. 10 — while the Florida Democratic Party has collected about $7.5 million, according to campaign-finance reports filed Friday.

The GOP, which totally controls state government, tapped major donors such as Florida Power & Light, which contributed $435,000, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, which chipped in $425,000.

Democrats, meanwhile, received $535,000 from the Florida Education Association teachers union and $475,250 from Florida Justice PAC, a political offshoot of the Florida Justice Association trial-lawyers group.

The latest party totals, which covered the period from Aug. 10 until Thursday, widened a fund-raising gap that has been evident in campaigns across Florida. In all, the Republican Party has raised about $26 million this year, more than double the $10.8 million raised by Democrats.

That money provides a huge advantage, in part because it can be used to buy television ads and crank out mail pieces in competitive races. Also, the Republican Party has contributed tens of thousands of dollars directly to numerous legislative campaigns, including to some candidates and races that have drawn little attention or are not considered particularly competitive.

The parties, candidates and political committees faced a Friday deadline for filing campaign-finance information, giving a final glimpse of how — and where — money is flowing before Tuesday’s elections. Candidates and committees, which must disclose information more often than parties, provided reports detailing activity from October 13 to Thursday.

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

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