What business tycoons and political megadonors have their hands in Florida’s race for governor?
Dark money and untraceable PACs make knowing some of that impossible. But six months out from the general election, several prominent names have already contributed six figures from their own or their businesses’ pockets.
Here are some of the largest individual donors for each of the (likely) seven top candidates for the state’s highest office. Numbers come from state campaign finance contribution records, last filed in April, and include donations to the candidates and their committees.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. [AP]
The Busch family, former owners of Anheuser-Busch Companies. Putnam received more than $200,000 from Busches, including $197,000 from August A. Busch and $3,000 from August A. Busch III. Robert Stork, founder and CEO of Communications International. Stork‘s “Robert W Stork Revocable Trust” has donated $125,000 to Putnam’s PAC. He also chipped in $3,000 under his own name.
Florida U.S. congressman RonDeSantis speaks during a pre-legislative news conference, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O’ Lakes speaks to members of the Florida House bout sexual harassment, Tuesday, 1/9/18. SCOTT KEELER | Times
Norman Braman, billionaire car dealer in Miami and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, has donated $175,000, as well as $46,000 from his dealerships.
Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine speaks before a renewal of marriage vows ceremony held by the SAVE Foundation, a LGBT rights group, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in Miami Beach, Fla. U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle’s ruling that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional took effect early Tuesday in all 67 counties. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Bobby Kotick, a video game tycoon in Santa Monica, Calif., has given Levine a whopping $306,000. Kotick is the CEO of Activision Blizzard, which owns the companies that have produced the “Call of Duty,” “Guitar Hero” and “Overwatch” games. Kotick also began dating Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in 2016. Sandberg has given a relatively smaller donation of $3,000.
Scott Robins, a Miami Beach real estate developer and Levine’s business partner, has given $103,000 to the candidate. The two are also about to sell $70 million worth of property, The Real Deal reported. Robins’ father Gerald has also given $103,000, and his brother Craig has given another $100,000.
Florida gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham, center, speaks during a private fundraiser at a Panama City home on Aug. 21. Graham spoke and answered questions from supporters during the fundraiser. (CHRIS URSO | Times)
James Finch, owner of Phoenix Construction in Lynn Haven, has donated $175,000, and his business has given another $15,000. Finch is notable because in 2014, Gov. Rick Scott ran attack ads against Charlie Crist, saying he cruised around in Finch’s private jet, and that Finch had a history of environmental violations. The ad was rated “True” by Politifact:
“Finch, a former NASCAR team owner, has a long history of political donations, giving tens of thousands of dollars to the Republican Party of Florida and John McCain’s presidential campaign. He also has a history of facing fines from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. While neither agency responded to PolitiFact Florida’s requests for documentation of Finch’s penalties, we were able to do a little digging on our own.” – Politifact
Chris King, a candidate for Florida governor, speaks during the Florida AP Legislative Day at the Florida Capitol, Thursday, Nov 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
Paul Morgan of Altamonte Springs, a principal and director at King’s Elevation Financial Group, gave the candidate at least $202,000, and Morg Personal Holdings, which Morgan controls, donated another $61,000. William Orosz, president of the real estate development firm Hanover Capital Partners in Orlando, hasn’t given anything to King directly. But SAM of Heathrow, LLC, which lists Orosz as president, gave King $100,000 in May 2017.
Tallahassee Mayor and candidate for Florida governor Andrew Gillum speaks during the Florida AP Legislative Day at the Florida Capitol Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in Tallahassee, Fla.. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)