As Donald Trump has noted, he has donated money to a number of his Republican presidential rivals, including Jeb Bush ($500 in 2002). But a review of Trump's personal contributions to Florida politicians shows that the biggest beneficiary of Trump money in Florida has been Gov. Rick Scott.
Trump wrote checks totaling $253,500 to Florida candidates and committees since 2002, the earliest year on the state campaign finance database.
Scott's Let's Get to Work committee got nearly half of that, $125,000, in 2012 and 2013, and the Republican Party of Florida got another $111,000, nearly all of it last year when Scott was locked in a tough re-election fight against former Gov. Charlie Crist, once a Trump pal. Trump hosted a big fund-raiser at his Mar-a-Lago Resort in Palm Beach when Crist ran for governor in 2006.
Trump's most recent check to a Florida politician? He sent $10,000 last September to Innovate Florida, a political committee controlled by Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who plays an important role in shaping any gambling-related legislation in Florida.
Over the years, Trump gave $1,000 to the late Jim King of Jacksonville, a former Senate president, and $1,000 to former Rep. Sharon Merchant of Palm Beach County when she ran for a Senate seat in 2002.
The only Democrat who got a check from The Donald was Walter "Skip" Campbell, a former senator from Coral Springs (and now that city's mayor) who was the Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2006. But Trump hedged his bets in that race. A few weeks later, he gave another $500 to Campbell's Republican opponent, Bill McCollum, who won the election. Florida's attorney general has a thing or two to say about casino gambling, don't you know.