For the second consecutive quarter, fundraising for the Republican Party of Florida continued to slump as infighting within the legislative ranks led senators and Gov. Rick Scott to continue to steer donors to separate political committees.
The party, now controlled primarily by House leaders led by incoming House speaker Richard Corcoran, raised a meager $2.2 million in July through September, up from the $1.9 million in the last quarter – the lowest level in six years, but down from the $5.1 million raised during the comparable third quarter two years ago.
RPOF expenditures for the quarter were $1.6 million, including $335,000 to reimburse Corcoran operative Michael J. Blair for undisclosed expenditures. As the speaker-designate of the Florida House, Corcoran heads the re-election efforts for House Republicans for 2016.
The Florida Democratic Party raised $638,000 for the third quarter, by contrast, and spent $484,000.
Senate Republicans collectively raised significantly more cash, receiving $2 million for their Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee for the quarter while the front-runners for Senate president -- Sens. Joe Negron and Jack Latvala, collectively raised more than $1 million more.
The rivalry between Negron and Latvala, however, is exacerbated by the feud between the House and the Senate that prompted Senate leaders to operate their fundraising separately from the party.
The warring began in January when Senate Republicans pulled $580,000 they had raised for the party from the RPOF accounts after state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia of Spring Hill took over as party chairman. The simmering tensions between the two Republican-led chambers also led to a stalemate over Medicaid expansion in the regular session and a divisive special session on redistricting in August.
Here are the top third quarter contributors to the RPOF, as well as September totals of the top legislative committees: