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DeSantis committee hauls in cash

Gov. Ron DeSantis talked about the 60 minutes piece accusing him of corruption with vaccines.
Gov. Ron DeSantis talked about the 60 minutes piece accusing him of corruption with vaccines.(WWSB)
Published: May. 10, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE , Fla. (News Service of Florida) - In a show of force, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political committee raised nearly $14 million in April as he prepares for a re-election campaign next year --- and as speculation builds about a possible bid for president in 2024.

The committee Friends of Ron DeSantis raised $13.979 million in April and had about $31.6 million in cash on hand as of the end of the month, according to a report posted Monday on the state Division of Elections website.

Though the 2022 election is still almost 18 months away, the April haul was the largest amount raised by the committee since October 2018, when it collected $17.36 million, a state elections database shows. October 2018 was the month before DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum to become governor.

During the first four months of this year, Friends of Ron DeSantis raised about $23 million.

The committee in April received more than half of its contributions in two chunks: $5 million from Chicago hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin and $2.8 million from the Republican Governors Association.

But it also received 30 contributions of $50,000 or more, including eight from contributors who listed addresses in one ZIP code --- 33480 --- in Palm Beach, according to the state elections database.

The committee received 139 contributions of $25,000 or more during the month, with those contributions totaling $12.4 million. By comparison, it received 86 contributions of $100 to $500, totaling $16,550.

DeSantis has not taken the formal step of filing paperwork and opening a campaign account for the 2022 race. When he does, he will be able to raise contributions up to $3,000 for his account. But political committees can raise unlimited amounts of money and often play major roles in state elections.

Florida Consumers First, a political committee tied to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, raised $361,586 in April and had about $1.5 million on hand as of April 30, according to a report posted Monday. Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, is widely expected to run for governor next year.

While Florida Consumers First pulled in many small contributions, it received the majority of its money in April from three Fort Lauderdale-based PACs known as Actions Matter PC, Citizens for a United Florida and Equal Justice PC. The PACs combined to contribute $262,250, the state database shows.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s political committee, Friends of Ashley Moody, raised $184,600 in April. Also, Treasure Florida, a committee tied to state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, raised $92,165.

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