Money from a Jeb Bush super PAC has made its way into Florida’s 2018 governors race.
A year ago, Bush’s Right to Rise PAC put $1,171 in money left over from his failed presidential run into a fund called SSLP Political Committee, which Adam Putnam used for his 2014 re-election campaign for Florida Agriculture Commissioner. After the Right to Rise donation, SSLP was up to just over $221,000 and has not spent any money since, according to records with the Florida Division of Elections.
But on Tuesday, Putnam moved all of SSLP’s unused money over into Florida Grown, a new committee he runs that has already raised $11 million since the start of 2015.
Since Putnam kicked off his campaign with a rally in Bartow on May 10, the Polk County Republican has now brought in at least $370,000 - including the SSLP transfer - into Florida Grown, according to a website maintained by the political committee.
It’s no surprise Jeb Bush money would end up in Putnam’s campaign. For years, Bush has been encouraging Putnam to run for governor. Even in 2014 while Putnam was still seeking re-election as agriculture commissioner, Bush used an event in Charlotte County to hint that Putnam should run for governor in the future.
While Right to Rise is one of the more notable donations in SSLP, its hardly the biggest donation. That title goes to the Florida Phosphate Political Committee, which put $100,000 into SSLP over two months, including $50,000 on Dec. 31, 2014 - nine weeks after Putnam had already won his re-election in a landslide. The money from Florida Phosphate is in addition to $150,000 they gave directly to Florida Grown.