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Ron DeSantis super PAC's big donors: backers of Koch brothers, Karl Rove


A super PAC supporting Republican Ron DeSantis for the U.S. Senate is stockpiling cash -- and much of it is coming from the major donors to national conservative groups.

Of the $1.2 million raised by Fighting for Florida Fund since last August, more than $1 million has come from just three donors:

* $350,000 from John Childs, chairman of private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates.

* $200,000 from Robert Mercer, a financial consultant.

* $500,000 from Spring Bay Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm in Ponte Vedra Beach, DeSantis' hometown.

Childs is a prolific donor to major conservative super PACs. Since 2010, he has given more than $8 million to groups like Karl Rove's American Crossroads, Koch brothers-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund and Club for Growth, a conservative group that has endorsed DeSantis.

Mercer, who lives in New York, is a major contributor to Club for Growth, American Crossroads and to Keep the Promise, which supports Ted Cruz for president. In total, he's given more than $29 million to conservative super PACs.

Spring Bay has contributed only to Fighting for Florida Fund.

Super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited funds to support or oppose candidates, but they cannot coordinate with candidates or their campaigns.

No other super PAC in the crowded race to replace Sen. Marco Rubio has had that degree of large-donor support.

Outside of Fighting for Florida Fund, the largest contribution to a super PAC in Florida's Senate race is $300,000 given by Coastal Construction to Floridians for a Strong Middle Class, which backs Democrat Patrick Murphy. The Miami-based company is run by Murphy's father.

Among Republicans, Reform Washington, which supports Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has received $200,000 from Rubio backer Norman Braman. FloridAmerican Conservatives, the David Jolly super PAC, brought in $100,000 from Miguel Fernandez, who heavily funded Jeb Bush's failed presidential run. Carlos Beruff's super PAC hasn't received donations yet.

Two candidates, Republican defense contractor Todd Wilcox and Murphy's main Democratic opponent, Alan Grayson, do not have super PACs.