Campaign Notes: Florida Voters Turn In Over 1 Million Absentee Ballots
ABSENTEE BALLOTS TOP 1 MILLION
Florida voters as of Thursday had returned more than 1 million absentee ballots, with Democrats making some headway against a traditional strength of the Republican Party. State election officials said 1.05 million had been returned to local supervisors of elections. In 2008, 1.85 million voters cast absentee ballots, and Republicans held about a 15 percentage point lead. This year, Republicans continue to lead in absentee returns, As of Thursday, elections officials had received 467,820 absentee ballots from self-designated GOP voters. That’s 44.5 percent. Democratic-identified voted had returned 413,516, or 39.4 percent of the total. Another 169,000, or 16.1 percent, did not designate either party on their ballots.
WEATHERFORD COMMITTEES RAKE IN CASH
Two political committees linked to incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, have collected $273,000 in contributions since Oct. 12, according to campaign-finance information on the committee websites. One of the committees, Citizens for Conservative Leadership, received $100,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. Meanwhile, the Committee for a Conservative House raised $173,000, including $25,000 from a Florida Optometric Association political committee and $15,000 from the Florida Police Benevolent Association. The information posted online also indicates the Committee for a Conservative House sent $50,000 to the Georgia-based Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group headed by prominent activist Ralph Reed that is trying to mobilize conservative voters this year. Oct. 12 was the end of the state’s most-recent reporting period, but committees linked to lawmakers are required to update campaign-finance information on their websites more frequently.
NEGRON COMMITTEE SCOOPS UP $205K
As the November election nears, a political committee linked to Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has collected $205,000 in less than two weeks, according to information on the committee website. Since Oct. 12, the Florida Conservative Action Committee has received $100,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and $50,000 from Paul Tudor Jones II, a wealthy investor and chairman of the Everglades Foundation. At the same time, the Negron committee has sent $150,000 to the Republican Party of Florida, according to the website. Negron has served the past two years as chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee and is trying to line up support to become Senate president in 2016. Oct 12 was the end of the state’s most-recent reporting period, but committees linked to legislators are required to update campaign-finance information on their websites more often.
CHAMBER GIVES BOOST TO SENATE GOP COMMITTEE
A political committee linked to top Senate Republicans has collected $202,500 in less than two weeks, including $150,000 from a Florida Chamber of Commerce PAC, according to committee information posted online. The Alliance for a Strong Economy, which says on its website that it is affiliated with outgoing Senate President Mike Haridopolos, outgoing Budget Chairman JD Alexander and Sens. Lizbeth Benacquisto, Mike Bennett and Joe Negron, also received $25,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and $10,000 from a Florida Medical Association PAC. The chamber PAC is known as Florida Jobs PAC, CCE. The money has flowed to the Alliance for a Strong Economy since Oct. 12, the end of the state’s most-recent reporting period. Committees linked to lawmakers are required to update information on their websites more frequently than the state reporting periods.
GEO, OTHERS PITCH IN FOR SENATE LEADERS
A political committee linked to Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner and other GOP leaders has collected $65,000 since Oct. 12, with much of the money coming from The Geo Group, a prison contractor, and Automated HealthCare Solutions, a company at the center of a debate about doctors dispensing drugs to workers-compensation insurance patients. The committee, known as Protect Our Liberty, posted the campaign-finance information on its website. Other lawmakers affiliated with the committee include Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, Sen. David Simmons, Sen. Anitere Flores, Sen. Joe Negron and Sen. Garrett Richter, according to the website. The Geo Group and Automated HealthCare Solutions each contributed $25,000 recently, while an ophthalmologists’ committee gave $10,000. Protect Our Liberty, meanwhile, reported funneling $100,000 this week to Senate Majority, a party effort to elect Republican Senate candidates. Oct 12 was the end of the state’s most-recent reporting period, but committees linked to legislators are required to update campaign-finance information on their websites more often.
SODERBERG CONTINUES BRINGING IN CASH
A political committee affiliated with Jacksonville Beach Democratic Senate candidate Nancy Soderberg has pulled in about $125,000 in contributions during the past two weeks, according to information on the committee’s website. Soderberg, a university professor who served as a foreign-policy advisor in the Clinton administration, is running against former Rep. Aaron Bean in Senate District 4. The biggest contribution since Oct. 12 to Soderberg’s committee, known as “Principled Leadership for Florida,” came from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, which gave $75,000. But The Florida Times-Union reported this week that Blue Cross made the contribution with the understanding that it would be used to help other Democratic candidates — not Soderberg. Blue Cross is backing Bean in the Northeast Florida district. Principled Leadership for Florida reported on its website that it has recently given $25,000 to the state Democratic Party. Oct. 12 was the end of the state’s most-recent reporting period, but committees linked to candidates and lawmakers are required to update campaign-finance information on their websites more frequently.