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Money chase: Big month for DeSantis; Dems tap personal, family wealth


Republican Ron DeSantis’ vaunted national fundraising network started to come through in February while three of the four Democrats running for Florida governor dipped into personal or family wealth last month to help finance their campaigns.

The latest batch of monthly campaign finance reports show DeSantis raised more than $2 million in February between his official gubernatorial campaign and a pro-DeSantis PAC. His February haul included $500,000 from Illinois packing supplies magnate Richard Uihlein, one of the top Republican contributors in the nation,$125,000 from Las Vegas resort and gaming executives and $10,000 from Foster Friess, a prominent donor to social conservative causes.

DeSantis began March with $5.2 million in cash on hand.

Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam continues to lead all candidates for governor in fundraising. He collected $905,833 in February and began this month with $17.5 million in cash on hand between his campaign and his Florida Grown committee

Democratic candidates Philip Levine and Chris King continued to tap into their personal fortunes in February.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Levine pumped $800,000 of his own money into his campaign account last month. Levine has put more than $4.6 million of his own money into his campaign or his All About Florida committee. Between the two entities, Levine has already spent more than $6.9 million — most of it on advertising.

King, a Winter Park developer of affordable housing, put $182,000 of his own money into his gubernatorial campaign last month, bringing his personal investment in the race to nearly $1.5 million. A variety of King’s businesses have given $301,000 to his campaign or his Rise And Lead Florida PAC.

Democrat Gwen Graham’s bid for governor received $250,000 in February from Graham’s father, former Florida Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham. While the paternal money is significant, Gwen Graham has raised $5.8 million overall from a much broader swath of contributors than King or Levine.

The only Democrat who hasn’t received a large amount of personal or family money is Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. His campaign and Forward Florida PAC raised a combined $233,639 in February. Gillum began March with less than $800,000 in cash on hand.



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