August 16, 2010

Greer needs money for lawyers, asks Crist for money back

Crist Hugs Greer - Low Res UPDATED: Jim Greer, the indicted former chairman of the state Republican Party, is asking Gov. Charlie Crist to refund $9,600 in campaign contributions made to Crist's U.S. Senate campaign. "As you know circumstances have caused me to need money to defend myself and take care of my family," Greer wrote in a letter to the campaign. "I know sending the money back is hard, but with what has happened it may be politically beneficial for you to do." (Download the letter here.)

The letter goes on to hammer the Republican Party of Florida leaders who helped oust Greer. "The current RPOF leadership, including (gubernatorial candidate Bill) McCollum, (Party Chairman John) Thrasher and many of the state committee members are simply liars, racists, and extremists ... the current bunch that are running the show will stop at nothing to cover for their own misdeeds," it reads.

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July 30, 2010

New public money totals released

Here's this week's update on the public money (this section of the public finance law is not affected by today's injuction on the so-called "millionaire's amendment.") Bill McCollum is the only candidate for governor taking public money -- for various reasons. Rick Scott won't take it. Alex Sink isn't sure if she wants it. And Bud Chiles wants it but hasn't yet qualified for it.

Governor: Bill McCollum: $1.7 million. Rick Scott: $0 Alex Sink: $0 Bud Chiles: $0.

Attorney General: Dave Aronberg: $290k. Dan Gelber: $353k. Holly Benson: $249k. Pam Bondi: $307k. Jeff Kottkamp: $259k.

CFO: Jeff Atwater: $586k. Loranne Ausley: $311.

Ag Commissioner: Scott Maddox: $196k. Adam Putnam: $317k.

July 29, 2010

Down in polls, McCollum declares 'We are going to win this election'

Attorney General Bill McCollum suggested "polls vary a lot" and he is not worried about the latest Quinnipiac survey showing him down 11 points in the Republican governor's race to rival Rick Scott.

"The fact of the matter is we know we are down a little bit to Mr. Scott," McCollum said before Thursday's state Cabinet meeting. "We are going to close strong and we have the resources to do it and we are going to win this election."

McCollum pointed to the poll by the Florida Medical Association -- one of his chief supporters -- that showed him down four points. "We have a long way to go and there are a lot of undecideds in that polls itself," he added.

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July 23, 2010

Public financing winners: McCollum, Atwater, Gelber

The public financing totals are out. Here are the big ones: Bill McCollum got $1.26 million, Jeff Atwater got $492,000 and Dan Gelber got $353,000. There are also some big names with $0 listed, including Alex Sink, who has said she is still deciding whether to accept public funds.

Other candidates with no public money listed who would otherwise be eligible include: Dave Aronberg, Loranne Ausley and Scott Maddox. Common thread? All Democrats. We're on the case to find out why.

McCollum down to $540k, public to come to rescue

Finance reports are coming in quickly now. Bill McCollum's is up, showing he raised just over $1 million in the latest quarter, but spent the bulk of his cash in the tough primary with Rick Scott. He's down to $540,000 in his campaign account.

But the public financing system will come to the rescue. His campaign expects to receive more than $2 million in matching funds today. (The actual amount is coming later this afternoon.)So he's not out of money just yet.

July 21, 2010

New group attacks Crist as a flip-flopper

A new political group entered the Florida U.S. Senate race Wednesday with an attack on Charlie Crist as a flip-flopper.

The American Action Network -- a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)4 nonprofit group which doesn't disclose donors -- is running the 30-second TV spot in the Tampa market and the Panhandle. (The group also debuted a website The ad kicker: "You can’t trust Charlie Crist to fight for jobs … unless it’s his own job." Sound familiar Marco Rubio?

July 09, 2010

Allen West's campaign warchest soars

Allen West, the outspoken black Republican trying to oust Democratic Congressman Ron Klein, has beaten his own fundraising record.

West raked in about $1.4 million for the most recent quarter, said his campaign manager Josh Grodin. That's a big leap from his last quarter when he raised almost $840,000. West's new total is just shy of $3.5 million and as of June 30 he had $2,182,000 cash on hand.

"South Floridians and all Americans are fed up with business as usual in Washington," Grodin said. "In particular, our district has a Congressman who has voted with Nancy Pelosi 98% of the time. Citizens are tired of politicians like Ron Klein, and are looking for leaders like Allen West.”

West has been ahead of Klein in fundraising for this cycle -- the most recent reports on the Federal Election Commission website through April showed that West had raised about $2.06 million while Klein had raised $1.86 million. But Klein has been dramatically ahead in cash on hand: $2.6 million for Klein while West had about $1.1 million.

The new reports aren't due to the FEC until July 15. Klein's campaign has not released his figures.

June 25, 2010

McCollum acknowledges raising money for two 527s

Attorney General Bill McCollum filed disclosure forms Friday acknowledging he is raising money for two federal 527 political committees: Florida First Initiative and the newly created Sunshine Freedom Fund.

McCollum campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said he began soliciting contributions only recently and made the filing subject to a state law that requires elected officials and candidates to follow tougher disclosure rules. And Campbell rejected the idea that the filings -- which come after weeks of scrutiny -- reflect an admission that the campaign needed to disclose the information earlier, as rival Rick Scott has argued.

Scott formed his own federal 527 to circumvent the state's spending caps and filed his paperwork Wednesday. McCollum is no where near the $24.9 million ceiling but established the separate political groups in order to raise unlimited contributions to attack Scott.

June 24, 2010

Scott's 527 begins advertising blitz

Beginning Friday, expect to see a television commercial attacking Bill McCollum courtesy of Rick Scott's new federal 527 political committee, Let's Get to Work.

The $1.5 million buy is the largest single TV ad blitz (through July 2) from an independent political group to date and brings the total spent in the GOP primary to $23.3 million. It will saturated most markets except Miami and North Florida.

Unlike the 527s linked to McCollum, Scott filed the necessary paperwork with the Division of Elections to disclose his part as a fundraiser. And the committee established the required website,, though it doesn't yet list donors and contributors.