Nearly half of all the money U.S. Senate hopeful Carlos Beruff raised during his first month on the campaign trail came from his own checkbook, new campaign finance reports show.
Beruff, a Republican from Manatee County, raised $111,790 from donors, but chipped in another $101,192 of his own, new campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show.
And more could be coming. Asked if he could put more in, Beruff said: "Oh yeah."
Beruff would not say how much he'd commit, but his allies have said they wouldn't be surprised if he put as much as $10 million into it.
Beruff said he has no qualms about committing his own money to the race.
"I'm betting on myself," said Beruff, a homebuilder who has never run for office before. "I've always been a believer that if you don't bet on yourself, why would you ask anybody else to bet on you."
Beruff entered the race in late February and the latest FEC reports cover fundraising and spending through March 31.
According to the reports, Beruff raised a total of $212,982 and spent $153,350. He had about $59,000 in his account at the start of April. Those numbers only tell part of the story of Beruff's spending. Since the start of April, Beruff's campaign has spent more than $1 million on television ads around the state. That spending won't be fully reported until July.
Beruff is not the only Republican candidate in the Aug. 30 primary putting his own money in the race. Combat veteran and former CIA case manager Todd Wilcox, a businessman from Orlando, has already loaned his campaign $1 million, included $250,000 between Jan. 1 and March 31. In addition to $1 million in loans, Wilcox has raised $434,753 and spent $351,724 on his campaign. That gave him just over $1 million in his campaign account to start April.
The fundraising leader for the GOP candidates remains U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach. After raising $1.1 million from January through March, DeSantis has now raised nearly $4.1 million and spent just $1.5 million, giving him $3.2 million to start April.
Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera raised $251,000 in the last three months, helping him top $1 million in donations. He has spent $643,000 over the whole campaign, leaving him with about $389,000 in his account to start April.
New campaign finance reports for U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, had not been delivered to the FEC as of Thursday night.