TALLAHASSEE — Who wants to give money to a multimillionaire? Not too many people, apparently.
In the first glimpse of fundraising after the primary election, Democrat Alex Sink has taken a large lead over Republican Rick Scott, her wealthy opponent for governor.
Sink, Florida's chief financial officer, announced a $525,000 haul during the 10-day period after the Aug. 24 primary, while Scott raised $43,000 — less than several down-ballot candidates. The figures show Sink with about $5 million on hand, compared with $224,000 for Scott.
A former health care executive, Scott and his wife poured $50 million of their own wealth into his primary battle with Attorney General Bill McCollum. In the days since, he has said he is reluctant to spend more on the general election.
If fundraising totals remain paltry, it could mean Scott will have to devote more personal resources to the race. But several key supporters cautioned not to read too much into the totals.
"I'm sure he's just catching his breath after a bitterly fought primary," said Ed Kennedy, the Republican state committeeman from Broward. "I have no doubt the money is going to be there."
Barney Bishop, president of Associated Industries of Florida, added that donors who previously supported McCollum might have taken a few days to get acquainted with Scott.
"We all know intuitively that he's got a lot of money," Bishop said. "The question is, 'Do we want to help him so he doesn't have to spend it all?' "
In the week after his primary win, Scott held several large meetings with moneyed special interests across the state. He also finished a major fundraising swing Friday.
The latest fundraising report also showed that the Republican Party of Florida gave Scott $53,000 in in-kind donations, mostly by paying for campaign staffers.
For the primary, the party gave $3.8 million in similar donations to McCollum.
Sink touted her fundraising totals as broad support from average Floridians. Her campaign said about a quarter of her total came from 1,440 online contributions.
A review of her contributions also shows several key interest groups.
Lawyers account for $80,000, and Sink received nearly $20,000 from companies associated with the Atlanta health care company LaVie Administrative Services. And she got $15,000 from the real estate industry, $11,000 from teachers and $4,600 from labor and teacher unions.
Sink also benefited from $161,000 of in-kind donations from the Florida Democratic Party. Over the past few weeks, the party also has spent more than $3 million to run several positive ads on behalf of Sink. Those figures won't show up in her latest fundraising report.
In other statewide races, candidates who didn't face a primary continued to hoard their cash while others scrambled to refill their war chests.
Democratic state Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, a candidate for attorney general, posted a $206,000 haul in the 10-day period, though half of that came from big checks from the Democratic Party and for public matching funds. He has about $190,000 on hand after winning a hard-fought primary against Sen. Dave Aronberg.
Republican Pam Bondi, Gelber's opponent, brought in $10,000, including a $3,000 check for matching funds. Bondi, who survived a three-person primary, has $126,000 in the bank.
In the chief financial officer campaign, Republican Senate President Jeff Atwater continues to build a big money lead. He raised $79,000 and has just more than $3 million on hand. Democrat Loranne Ausley raised $37,000 and has a little less than $1 million to spend.
Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam also has a healthy fundraising lead in the agriculture commissioner's race. He raised $171,000 in the latest fundraising period and has $1.8 million on hand. Democrat Scott Maddox raised $35,000 and has banked $656,000.
Miami Herald staff writer Beth Reinhard contributed to this report. Lee Logan can be reached at email@example.com or (850) 224-7263.