Candidates seeking to follow Gov. Rick Scott are off to a fast fundraising start, with new reports showing Adam Putnam holding a money advantage in the 2018 governor's race.
Putnam, the two-term Republican state agriculture commissioner who kicked off his campaign May 10 in Bartow, raised nearly $1.2 million through the end of May for his campaign account, according to a report filed Monday with the state Division of Elections.
His political committee, Florida Grown, raised another $1 million in May, bringing the total to $12.35 million for the fund, which Putnam created after his re-election to the Cabinet in 2014.
Between the two accounts, Putnam had about $10 million in cash available to spend on his campaign as of May 31.
Major contributors to his political committee in May included $100,000 from A. Duda and Sons, an Oviedo-based agriculture company, $100,000 from the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and $50,000 from the phosphate industry.
Also, Florida Grown in May received a transfer of more than $221,000 from a prior fund, SSLP Political Committee, records show.
On the Democratic side, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee piled up about $1.6 million after she joined the governor's race in May.
She raised more than $435,000 for her campaign account and another $1.16 million for her political committee, Our Florida, bringing the fund's total above $1.8 million, records show. After expenditures, Graham had about $1.9 million to spend on her campaign.
Her political committee was bolstered by a transfer last month of $950,000 from a prior congressional campaign fund, records show. Major contributors to Graham have included $100,000 from James Finch, a Lynn Haven developer, and $50,000 from Wayne Hogan, a Jacksonville trial lawyer.
Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee, raised $97,000 for his gubernatorial campaign fund in May, bringing the total to $499,000. He had raised a total of $662,000 for his political committee, Forward Florida.
Gillum had about $763,000 to spend on his campaign. Major contributors have included $150,000 from George and Alex Soros and $50,000 from television producer Norman Lear.
Chris King, a Winter Park businessman, raised some $221,000 for his Democratic gubernatorial campaign in May, records show. It included $100,000 for his campaign account, bringing the total to nearly $1.5 million. King previously made a $1 million personal donation to his campaign account.
His political committee, Rise and Lead, raised $121,000 in May, bringing its total to about $544,000. King had about $1.6 million to spend on his campaign, records show.
His largest contributor in May was $100,000 from Sam of Heathrow, an Orlando development company. Prior major contributions included $179,000 from Paul Morgan, one of King's business partners, and $166,000 from David King, his father who is a Winter Park attorney.
State candidates and political committees were required to file updated campaign-finance reports by a Monday night deadline. The 2018 election cycle is expected to be costly, at least in part because the governor's office and three Cabinet seats will be on the ballot.
In the race to replace Putnam as agriculture commissioner, state Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, raised nearly $50,000 for her campaign in May, bringing her total to $384,000. Her political committee, Saving Florida's Heartland, has raised more than $1 million. She had about $722,000 available to spend on her campaign as of May 31, records show.
Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers, raised about $102,000 for his agriculture commissioner campaign in May, the first month of his campaign, records show. His political committee, Friends of Matt Caldwell, had raised a total of $763,000. He had about $720,000 in cash on hand.
Paul Paulson, an Orlando businessman and another agriculture commissioner candidate, had raised $396,000 for his Republican campaign, including $393,000 in loans, records show. He had spent $108,000.
Former state Rep. Baxter Troutman, R-Winter Haven, entered the agriculture commissioner's race this week. Although he hasn't filed a report yet, his campaign announced he would loan $2.5 million to the campaign.
On the Democratic side, Michael Christine, a University of Miami law student, had raised $3,559 for his agriculture commissioner campaign.
In the race to succeed Attorney General Pam Bondi, state Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, raised about $80,000 in May, the first month of his campaign, records show.
His political committee, Pledge This Day, had raised nearly $226,000 through the end of May, with the largest recent contribution of $9,000 coming from J.B. Coxwell Contracting in Jacksonville. He had a total of $157,000 to spend on his campaign.
Republican Ashley Moody, a former Hillsborough County circuit judge who has the backing of Bondi, was not required to file a report this week because she opened her campaign account June 1, the day after the end of the reporting period.
Democrat Ryan Torrens, an attorney from Hillsborough County who opened his campaign account on May 22, raised $3,618, records show.
In the race for chief financial officer, former Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Ring, who opened his campaign account on May 30, reported no financial activity. But a political committee affiliated with Ring, Florida Action Fund PC, reported raising $18,500 last month and spending $12,000, records show.