What's one way to make it look like you're beating the pants off your opponent in fundraising? If you're Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami-Beach, you send out an email from your attorney general campaign HQ boasting that "we received over $325,000 in contributions... I have received more contributions than any other candidate in the race – Republican or Democrat."
$325k sure is a lot of money. Too much in fact.
Turns out, he raised $218,911 in cash. So how can he say he "received" $102k more than that? Gelber counted in-kind donations -- that is, stuff that isn't cash. And even if the in-kinds are added to the cash, Gelber's haul is technically $321k, due to common campaign accounting adjustments. Still, by rolling the inkinds into his fundraising total, it's a 32 percent inflation. Oh well. Technically, in-kind contributions are still contributions.
And Gelber's not alone when it comes to rolling inkind donations into an initial, misleading announcements about their contributions. Republican Holly Benson's contributions were inflated by 21 percent. Republican Jeff Kottkamp inflated his numbers by 17 percent and Republican Pam Bondi boosted hers by just 6 percent.
Only Gelber's Democratic rival, Dave Aronberg, looks like he was straight up when he said he raised $260k. Techincally, it was $259k.
Boy is this getting lawyerly. Maybe we shouldn't be shocked. This is a race to be the state's top lawyer.