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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In state Senate race, a potential finance problem emerges for Greg Steube



Folks who donated to Greg Steube's state House campaign received letters this week letting them know that now he is running for the Senate instead, and they can either get a refund or let him shift it to his new campaign. He hopes to roll over more than $200,000 from his House campaign to his Senate campaign.

The problem? Steube filed paperwork with the Division of Elections on Feb. 11 changing from a state House candidate to the state Senate, and Florida requires campaigns to inform donors in writing of such a switch within 15 days. Those voters then have 30 days to request a refund.

Rep. Steube, R-Bradenton, brushed off the issue, noting that anyone who wants a refund will get one and that he left it to his campaign team to handle the paperwork.

His treasurer Joe Gruters similarly dismissed the prospect of a challenge over the timing of Steube's refund letters.

"I signed them on the date of the letter and they were timely mailed. Not sure why there was any delay if any with the mail delivery," said Gruters, who is also vice chairman of the state GOP and co-chairman of Donald Trump's Florida campaign.

As a side note, Steube sending out letters in February asking donors whether or not they wanted a refund or support his campaign for state Senate could violate, at the least, the spirit, of Florida House ethics rules barring fundraising during a legislative session.

Other Republicans running for that Senate seat include Doug Holder, Rick Levine, Nora Patterson and Ray Pilon.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 31, 2016 12:24pm]


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