The rich candidates for Florida Legislature
Florida lawmakers like to say that they're just like the rest of us.
And that may be true except according to financial disclosure forms filed with qualifying officers last week, 21 Senate candidates this year have net worths of more than $1 million — with 13 candidates at more than $3 million.
Add candidates for the House, and nearly 70 of the 400 candidates for the Legislature top the $1 million mark, with 124 reporting net worths of at least $500,000.
Some of Tallahassee's biggest names are also the most affluent, led by incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, a health industry entrepreneur worth $24.9 million. St. Augustine Republican Sen. John Thrasher, an attorney, and Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala, CEO of a printing company, are worth $6.6 million and $5.7 million, respectively.
Not all candidates are high-rollers. Many have modest incomes, and some have upside-down mortgages that land them in the negative on net worth, calculated by assets minus debt.
But for the ultra-rich, thick wallets can offer a leg up on races, which are the most competitive in years because of redistricting. The numbers also reveal the advantage of wealth when it comes to running for state office.