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Here are the biggest financial backers of candidates running for governor in 2018



It’s early in the 2018 gubernatorial election cycle, but the checks are already flying in the race. Millions of dollars are amassing for a race that is already showing it will be one of the most expensive in the nation even before other big names announce whether they are running or not.

Here are the top four donors to each of the candidates that have so far announced they are running.

Since 2014, Florida Agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican, has been piling up money in a political committee he calls Florida Grown, which can accept donations of more than $3,000, the limit for a traditional campaign account. His top donors have been some of Florida’s biggest industries. His biggest donor has been The Voice of Florida Business, a political committee run by the Associated Industries of Florida. That committee gave him $605,000 for his committee since 2014. That is in addition to $525,000 Associated Industries gave him through another political committee they control.

Putnam’s Top 5
$605,000 - The Voice of Florida Business
$587,060 - Florida Power & Light
$550,000 - Florida Jobs PAC, a committee run by the Florida Chamber of Commerce
$525,000 - Associated Industries of Florida PAC
$465,000 - U.S. Sugar Corporation and South Central Florida Express Inc.

Orlando Businessman Chris King and his family are showing they are committed to him becoming the state’s first Democratic governor since Lawton Chiles won his last race in 1994. King and members of his family members have combined to put more than $1.2 million into the race. King himself put in over $1 million already.

King’s Top 5
$1,062,000 - Chris King
$179,000 - Paul Morgan, a principal with King-founded Elevation Financial Group
$166,000 - David King, Attorney and Chris King’s father
$47,000 - Thomas Beck, accountant from Winter Park
$25,000 - Debbie Lawton of Winter Park

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, a Tallahassee Democrat, started her campaign by transferring $250,000 from her former congressional campaign account into her new political committee called Our Florida.

Graham’s Top 5

$250,000 - Graham for Congress campaign account
$50,000 - James Finch, former NASCAR racing team owner and construction company owner
$50,000 - Michael Singer, founder of the Temple of the Universe, a yoga and meditation center outside of Gainesville
$50,000 - Wayne Hogan, Jacksonville attorney and 2002 candidate for Congress
$25,000 - Five donors gave this amount

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat has tapped into serious celebrity money already. Besides a $7,000 check from Jane Fonda, Gillum has picked up donations from billionaire financier George Soros and Norman Lear, a writer and producer of tv shows like All in the Family.

Gillum’s Top 5
$100,000 - George Soros, billionaire financier
$50,000 - Norman Lear, television producer and writer
$50,000 - Alex Soros, philanthropist
$50,000 - Tarra Pressey, Palm Beach Gardens
$45,000 - Attorney Sean Pittman, his law firm and and investment company he runs


PHOTO CREDIT: George Soros, AP