Legislative Session has come and gone in Florida, meaning that the sun is rising on a bright new campaign season. With competitive races up and down the ballots from local level to the federal, fundraising is serving as a key differentiating factor in determining which candidates are contenders.
Some, like the incumbent Ron DeSantis, sit on a mountain of fundraising gold, while others are struggling to keep pace.
In the financial war of attrition, see how Florida’s biggest political names stack up:
Crist crossed the $1 million threshold for funds collected in March, becoming the first Democrat gubernatorial candidate to do so in a single month. Seen as the leader of the Democratic field, over opponents Nikki Fried and Annette Taddeo, Crist’s earnings now amount to $8.2 million overall.
“Thank you to all our donors for helping Team Crist go above and beyond in March: over $1 million raised!” Crist posted to Twitter. “We’re humbled by this outpouring of support our campaign is receiving as we build a grassroots movement to bring compassion and commonsense leadership back to Tallahassee.”
Crist has received a long list of endorsements in his bid to re-capture the top position in the state, including Rep. Al Lawson, Rep. Kathy Castor, and St. Petersburg Beach Mayor Alan Johnson.
Crist currently sits eight points clear of Fried and twenty-three points clear of Taddeo in the latest poll conducted by the University of North Florida Public Research Lab and is a clear favorite to win the Democratic Primary.
The Demings campaign announced on Wednesday that they surpassed $10 million raised in the first quarter of 2022, as reported by Politico. The Demings for Senator campaign now has upwards of $13 million on hand, the most ever for a Senate challenger.
“We’re building the most robust campaign Rubio has ever faced, one that will let Floridians know that they have a choice between a 27-year law enforcement officer and a career politician who doesn’t show up for work,” Demings campaign manager Zack Carroll said in a statement.
Demings has been viewed as a dark horse to take down Sen. Marco Rubio in an election for one of Florida’s two Senate seats. Trailing the incumbent Rubio by seven points, some analysts still consider Demings to be within striking distance as the poll reflected nine percent of voters declaring themselves as undecided.
DeSantis is unmatched, not just within Florida, but nationwide in his fundraising totals. The governor’s fundraising wealth puts him as the number one fundraiser in state politics in the 2022 election cycle so far.
Amassing an incredible $110 million in 2021 alone, DeSantis’ top donors include the Republican Governors Association ($6,600,000), CEO of Citadel LLC. Kenneth C. Griffin ($5,000,000), and WeatherTech founder David F. MacNeil ($800,000). DeSantis also received $500,000 from the Republican Party of Florida.
DeSantis’ $110 million is such an astounding total that the next highest fundraising governor up for reelection in 2022, Texas’ Greg Abbott, reports collecting $44,778,653, less than half of that of DeSantis.
Needless to say, DeSantis is looked at as large a favorite as you can be in a Governor’s race, with the ability to outspend just about anyone in the country.
Fried, who we’ve previously seen to be trailing Crist in the polls, lags behind in fundraising as well.
Fried, in March, raised more than $440,000, which amounts to one of her best months of 2022. The Fried campaign reports upwards of 4,500 individual donations last month, with an average contribution of roughly $35.
Winning is possible, but it’s going to take all of us to make it happen. If you’re ready to step up, sign up now,” said Fried on Twitter.
Winning is possible, but it’s going to take all of us to make it happen.
If you’re ready to step up, sign up now.https://t.co/uJBcsza988
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) April 5, 2022
Fried, however, isn’t worried about losing the monetary battle, according to a publication on her campaign website.
“First of all, fundraising metrics aren’t the metrics that I believe a campaign is geared on. But we certainly are meeting all of our goals every single month,” said Fried.
While Fried trails behind Crist in most meaningful voting demographics, she is still within reach to make a comeback. Banking on a progressive voting bloc turnout, younger voters could push her through the Primary.