From The News Service of Florida: Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign posted more big numbers as the clock wound down on September.
The biggest score came from Shahid “Shad” Khan, the owner of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, who dropped $250,000 into Scott's “Let’s Get to Work” committee, which is backing the governor’s re-election. The contribution was posted on the committee's website Sept. 30, three weeks after Scott hosted Khan at the Governor's Mansion for a Sunday night meeting about unspecified economic-development opportunities.
Khan has expressed interest in developing land known as the Shipyards near EverBank Field along the St. Johns River. A spokesman for Khan, who made his money with the Illinois-based auto-parts maker Flex-N-Gate and owns a home in Naples, has described the Sept. 8 meeting as "outstanding." Scott's spokespeople have only noted the generic topic of the get-together.
Khan isn't the first billionaire from the luxury boxes to get behind Scott. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has set up his own political action committee, Florida Jobs First, which has helped raise money for Scott.
The PAC was created by Ross after he all but declared war against House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, because of the House's failure to support upgrades to Sun Life Stadium earlier this year. Khan’s Sept. 30 contribution was among $1.34 million that churned into the "Let's Get to Work" account the final week of September.
The money put the committee's intake for September at $3.65 million. Scott has lagged in polls behind potential Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, the former governor who left the GOP. But those poll numbers haven’t discouraged business interest for Scott.
The money in the final week of September included $140,000 from contributors with construction and real-estate ties, $227,759 from the health-care field, $53,000 from the insurance industry, and $362,000 from banking and finance. Another $60,000 was chipped in by gaming interests. The Buffalo, N.Y.,-based Delaware North Gaming & Entertainment and several of its affiliates, including the Daytona Beach Kennel Club and Poker Room, collectively gave $50,000 at the end of September. Melbourne Greyhound Park gave $10,000.
The money posted by gaming interests was in addition to $540,000 in gambling-tied money that rolled in during the first part of the month, as the Legislature prepares for a major debate during the 2014 session about Florida’s gaming future. Earlier in September, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, approaching an end to a key part of its exclusive gambling compact with the state, dropped $500,000 into the committee, while Missouri-based Isle of Capri Casinos, which owns Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park in Broward County, and Calder Race Course in Miami-Dade County each gave $20,000.
Since the start of the year, the "Let's Get to Work" committee has raised $13.25 million, of which $1.2 million has been spent, mostly on consultants.