If you watch television, chances are you’ve seen an ad featuring Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Greene. The multi-billionaire real estate investor has made himself a force to be reckoned with in the governor’s race. He’s been on a tear ever since he entered the primary contest in early June promising to self-fund his campaign. Since then, Greene has shaken up the Democratic primary. In one month, he spent $10.2 million of his own money saturating Florida with television ads.
Greene isn’t just relying on television spots, he’s also flooding the postal system with campaign mailers. The latest was released Tuesday morning by his campaign and takes aim at President Donald Trump and that National Rifle Association.
“As a father, I won’t stand by while the NRA turns our kids into targets.” Greene says on the mailer. Under the message is a picture of lockers in a school hallway with targets in the shape of students; ‘AR Practice’ and the NRA logo are found on the target boards.
“Students should be worried about grades, not guns,” says Greene, a father of three young sons. “When I send my kids to school, I shouldn’t be afraid they’ll be killed in their classrooms. No parent should.”
Greene’s emergence as a legitimate contender for the Democratic nomination is raising questions about just how much he’s willing to spend on the campaign and how much of a factor he can be in the race.
In a story reported by Politico on Tuesday, Greene’s entry into the contest has made a difference in the five person Democratic contest.
Before Greene joined the five-candidate race, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine dominated the advertising airwaves and was the clear front-runner.
But now, Levine is either trailing or tied with former Rep. Gwen Graham for first, according to multiple polls that were shared exclusively with POLITICO. The surveys indicate that Greene has sapped some of Levine’s support and that he has moved into third place as he continues to rise.
According to Forbes, Greene is worth more than $3.3 billion. He has promised to to help fund the campaigns of other state and federal Democratic candidates on the Florida ballot this fall if he is his party’s nominee for governor.
“Our nominee for Governor has a responsibility to help bring other Democrats into office. If it hasn’t happened before it should start this year and I’m all in. I’ll write checks and spend resources to communicate and get our vote out,” Greene said in a statement to POLITICO.
“Since I’m self-funding, tens of millions of dollars will be freed up for those campaigns which is another benefit,” Greene said. “I’ve been getting calls from Democratic donors who want to help me — and I tell them to save their money for the general to help down-ballot races.”
Whether Greene can win the Democratic nomination, and eventually the governor’s seat, based solely on his political wealth remains a question with the primary contest just five weeks away. But there’s no question his presence has already had an an impact in the race for the Democratic nomination.