Charlie Crist took quick advantage of a new Florida law that allows donors to write much fatter checks to candidates.
Of the $777,925 that former Republican Gov. Crist collected in November for his Democratic gubernatorial quest, $432,000 came from 144 contributors who wrote checks for the new statewide maximum of $3,000. Before Nov. 1, the most a contributor could give a candidate was $500 for a primary and $500 for a general election.
Crist’s Democratic primary foe, former state Sen. Nan Rich, collected two $3,000 checks in November. She garnered $31,230 for the month and has raised $255,320 overall.
In addition to the money raised by Crist’s election campaign, a committee called Charlie Crist For Florida snagged $2.2 million during November.
The nearly $3 million raised last month to support Crist compares to $5.8 million raised during the month by Let’s Get To Work, a committee supporting Republican Gov. Rick Scott. The pro-Scott committee has amassed $25 million since the 2010 election. Scott officially opened his re-election campaign on Tuesday.
Scott signed the law this year that allows a contributor to give up to $3,000 per primary and $3,000 per general election for statewide races. For state legislative and local contests, the new limit is $1,000 per primary and $1,000 per general election.
Florida had a $3,000 contribution limit until 1992, when a law signed by former Gov. Lawton Chiles imposed the $500 cap. A $500 contribution in 1992 has the buying power of $832 today.
Some other campaign money highlights:
• Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach collected 43 checks for $3,000 in November. Atwater raised $235,825 during the month and has collected $814,756 overall. The only other CFO candidate, Democrat William Rankin, blamed a “faux pas” for missing Tuesday night’s deadline for filing a report. Rankin said he raised less than $5,000 in cash and in-kind contributions during November.
• Attorney General Pam Bondi logged 13 contributions at the new $3,000 maximum in November. She raised $104,875 for the month and collected $526,451 overall — easily outdistancing the two Democrats who have filed for her seat.
Democratic AG candidate George Sheldon raised $45,876 in November, helped by eight contributors who maxed out at $3,000. Sheldon has raised $51,807 overall. State Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, got three $3,000 checks last month and raised $21,500 in his first month as a candidate.
• Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam had 10 donors who wrote $3,000 checks in November. Putnam collected $158,604 during the month and became the first statewide candidate to top $1 million in contributions to a campaign. Democratic candidate Thaddeus Hamilton has collected $6,273 overall.
• In Palm Beach County legislative races, Democratic state House candidate David Silvers snagged 13 contributions at the new $1,000 limit in his bid to unseat state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton. Hager raised $10,000 for the month, including one check for $1,000. Hager remains the money leader among local state House members with $81,470 collected overall.
• State Rep. MaryLynn Magar, R-Stuart, had nine contributors who wrote $1,000 checks in November. She has raised $75,950 overall after gathering $20,350 in November.
• State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, raised $62,520 during November, including a dozen $1,ooo checks. Negron, vying to become Senate president in 2016, has collected $355,615 overall while a pro-Negron committee, the Treasure Coast Alliance, raised $961,000 last month.