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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Carlos Beruff becomes top self-funder for a U.S. Senate seat in the nation

Carlos Beruff

File photo

Carlos Beruff

With another surge in advertising, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff has spent more than $3 million on television spots statewide.

And most of that money is coming from his own pocket. It will be months before Beruff officially reports how much of his own money he has invested in his campaign to do the ad buys, but that number is now expected to be over $3 million, according to a source close to the campaign and later confirmed by the campaign. That would make Beruff the biggest self-funder in the nation for an U.S. Senate seat, surpassing Democrat Napoleon Harris, who put in $2.1 million of his own money but lost his primary election in Illinois earlier this year.

But he’s got a long way to catch the top self funder for a seat in Congress this year. Democrat David Trone, founder of Total Wine, spent more $9.9 million of his own money, according to Federal Election Commission records, but lost in a primary for a seat in Congress representing Maryland’s D.C.-suburbs in late April.

Beruff hasn’t hidden the fact that he intends to self-fund a big part of his campaign. In interviews he’s consistently said he’ll put his own money in the race, but has not said exactly how much.

“I’ve always been a believer that if you don’t bet on yourself how can you ask anyone else to,” Beruff said in a recent interview with the Times/Herald.

Self-funders have not had a great track record running for the U.S. Senate since 2010. Since then, nearly 90 percent of candidates who have put $1 million of their own money into a U.S. Senate campaign have lost. In total, 34 candidates have put $1 million or more into their campaigns. Thirty of those candidates lost either in the primary or the general election. Only four - two Democrats and two Republicans - won seats in the U.S. Senate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Beruff is not the only self-funder in the race. Orlando-area businessman Todd Wilcox, also a Republican,  has put in over $1 million into the race.

Beruff, a homebuilder from Manatee County, is the only candidate in the Republican Primary who has done substantial advertising on television. Since the second week of April, Beruff has been running advertisements regularly Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville, according to advertising contracts filed with the Federal Communication Commission.

Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, Wilcox and Beruff are all competing in an Aug. 30 Republican Primary. U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, are battling in the Democratic primary.

[Last modified: Monday, May 23, 2016 3:32pm]


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