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The Money Race: In final week, Crist campaign has more to spend


For the first time since he announced he was running for governor, Charlie Crist’s campaign has more cash to spend than Gov. Rick Scott.

Through Oct. 25, Crist had $3.2 million. Scott dipped to $2.9 million.

Scott has had a sizable financial edge from the start, spending $46.8 million, or 45 percent more than the $32.2 million Crist’s campaign had spent through Saturday. With polls showing the race a dead heat, any little bit could help.

Still, with the race awash in Super PAC money, Crist’s $300,000 edge is almost meaningless, especially with Scott confirming he’s dumping his own money into the race. (Just how much he’s spending might be revealed this Friday when the Republican Party of Florida releases its quarterly financial report).

In the last two weeks, from Oct. 11 to Oct. 25, Crist raised $5.6 million to Scott’s $4.8 million. He’s spent more, too, burning through $4.6 million compared to Scott’s $3.9 million.

Crist’s latest support in the last two weeks came from the progressive advocacy group, America Votes, $350,000; his former law firm, Morgan & Morgan, $250,000; the teacher’s union Florida Education Association, $250,000;  the Chicago venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker, $100,000; online media guru Chris Findlater, $75,000; Sallyn Pacic, wife of Jacksonville injury lawyer Gary, $250,000; the Junction City Mining Group, a Georgia construction company; International Association of Firefighters, $100,000; the Florida Police Benevolent Association, $50,000; the Tampa law firm Wilkes & McHugh, $100,000;  former NBA star Grant Hill, $60,000; Lakeland’s businessman C.C. “Doc” Dockery (and husband of former Republican State Senator Paula Dockery), $10,000; and David Rancourt, co-founder of Southern Strategy Group and a former fraternity brother of Crist’s, $10,000.

The Florida Democratic Party kicked in $414,738 the past two weeks, plus Crist’s campaign received nearly $300,000 the past two weeks in public campaign financing, which helps candidates with a monetary disadvantage to compete. Overall, Crist has received $1.6 million in public financing, which Scott (who spent $75.1 million of his own fortune in the 2010 race) opposes.

Scott is relying on the Chris Christie-fronted Republican Governor’s Association, especially in the final weeks. It contributed $2.3 million since Oct. 14, and has contributed a total of $15.3 million, or 27 percent of all that Scott has raised. A Super PAC that does for governors what the Republican Association of Attorneys General does for AGs, it’s trying to keep its national edge over Democratic governors 29 to 21.

But it’s fending off a number of competitive races in states with an incumbent Republican governor, including Pennsylvania, Maine, Illinois, and Rhode Island. Even so, Florida is considered the top priority. Since April, RGA has given the state a third of the $44.6 million it has raised nationally. David Koch, one-half of the famed brother industrialist team, is a big RGA donor, chipping in $2.5 million, as is beer magnate August Busch, III, who gave $300,000; Wellpoint gave $500,000; as did many, many Fortune 500 companies.