Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist last month continued to build a fundraising advantage over Nikki Fried, his opponent in the Aug. 23 primary election. Crist, a congressman from St. Petersburg, raised nearly $1.25 million for his campaign and political committee from June 1 through July 1, according to newly filed finance reports. Fried, the state agriculture commissioner, raised almost $417,000 for her campaign and political committee. Crist also had a combined total of about $6.84 million in cash on hand as of July 1, with the majority of that in his political committee, Friends of Charlie Crist. Fried had a combined total of about $3.87 million on hand, with the largest chunk of that in her political committee, Florida Consumers First.
Meanwhile, in the statewide race for Agriculture Commissioner, Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, continued last month to amass money for his bid to become state agriculture commissioner. Through four political committees and his campaign account, Simpson raised nearly $1.44 million from June 1 through July 1, according to newly filed finance reports. As of July 1, the committees and campaign account combined to total about $16.88 million in cash on hand. Simpson will face Vero Beach Republican James Shaw in the Aug. 23 GOP primary, while Democrats Naomi Blemur, J.R. Gaillot and Ryan Morales also are running for the state Cabinet seat. Blemur had raised a total of $20,740 for her campaign account as of July 1. Gaillot had raised $8,266, and Morales had raised $13,037. A report through July 1 for Shaw had not been posted on the state Division of Elections website as of early Friday evening. Candidates and political committees faced a Friday deadline for filing updated reports.