Marsy Post Leader

Republicans in the Florida Senate, led by Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, are putting together some impressive campaign finance numbers as they prepare to head into the 2018 election cycle.

For the third quarter of this year, the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (FRSCC) raised a record $3.27 million. That’s more than a million dollars over what the committee raised during the same period two years ago.

It’s more than any of the third quarter periods preceding the past three election years.

In 2015, the FRSCC raised $2.02 million in the third quarter. It raised $1.85 million in 2013 and $2.11 million in 2011.

Galvano, who is expected to be named Senate President-Designate on Oct. 24, was in charge of the fundraising for the FRSCC for much of the past quarter.

Factor in the nearly $655,000 Galvano has raised for his own political committee, Innovate Florida, and the total amount of campaign dollars raised over the past three months for Republican senatorial candidates reaches almost $4 million.

“The record fundraising levels reached over the last few months reflect the strength of our Republican leadership and the faith donors place in our commitment to proven and effective policy that benefits all Floridians,” said Majority Leader Wilton Simpson

The Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which supports Democratic candidates running for both the Senate and the House raised $2.33 million in the third quarter of this year. Nearly a $1 million less than the FRSCC.

Both sides spent a lot of that money on last month’s Senate District 40 race to replace former Sen. Frank Artiles, a Miami Republican who was forced to resign after making racist comments to colleagues at a private club in Tallahassee earlier this year.

Annette Taddeo, the Democrat, won that election a couple of weeks ago, upsetting former Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz.

The victory is the first step in Sen. Jeff Clemens’ longshot plan to retake control of  the Senate. Clemens, D-Lake Worth, who heads up the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, unveiled a plan earlier this year called Flip Florida Blue.

Clemens’ plan was to win back the Senate District 40 seat, which the Dems did, and then target seven or eight senate races in next year’s election.

But the Democrats have a big hill to climb if they wish to retake control of the Senate. Even with Taddeo’s victory last month, the GOP still holds a 26-14 majority in the Senate. And, based on this year’s record-setting third quarter campaign contributions for the FRSCC, that hill may have gotten a little steeper.