Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida congressional candidate gets Super PAC boost -- from his father



In Florida, we’ve seen the friend-of-candidate Super PAC, blurring lines between the distance supposedly expected of outside groups and the candidate. Now comes the parent-of-candidate Super PAC.

The father of Gabriel Rothblatt, a Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Bill Posey of Rockledge, has poured $225,000 so far into Space PAC, records show, blowing past the $2,600 contribution limit for Rothblatt’s general election campaign. Rothblatt is not considered a threat to Posey, but the Super PAC is worth noting for the trend it represents in outside money.

Earlier this year we saw a Super PAC established by friends of Paige Kreegel, an unsuccessful candidate for the Congressional District 19 seat. Space PAC has even closer ties, raising questions. Rothblatt waved them off in an interview with USA Today last month. “You don’t want to, in a casual conversation, cross a line that can turn around and bite you,” he said, claming to have not known about the committee until he saw yard signs.

"Sorry, that’s preposterous,” opined the New York Times editorial board, in condemning “fictional independence … going on all over the country.”

Martine Rothblatt is an entrepreneur who founded Sirius Satellite Radio and is currently CEO of United Therapeutics Corp. He underwent gender reassignment in 1994. Gabriel has focused his campaign on space, saying the region needs to tap the evolving private sector focus.

“My goal is to become the first governor of a city in space,” he told USA Today. “I want to be the Ponce de Leon of the stars.”

Though Space PAC has drawn attention, it’s not the first of its kind. In 2012, Patrick Murphy’s wealthy father poured $250,000 into the American Sunrise PAC, the bulk of its funding, that attacked rival Allen West.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 28, 2014 12:55pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours