Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State, McCollum abandon legal defense of taxpayer matching money for candidates

TALLAHASSEE — Florida will not appeal a court ruling that struck a key provision of the state's campaign finance law.

The decision Wednesday gave Republican candidate Rick Scott the ability to exceed the state's $24.9 million spending cap in his bid for governor without worries that his leading GOP rival, Bill McCollum, would benefit.

Scott's campaign bought another $2 million in television advertisements for the coming week, bringing its total spending to more than $25 million.

A week ago, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted Scott an injunction to block the so-called millionaire's provision, which would have given McCollum state money to match every dollar Scott spent above the cap.

The court ruled that the law's attempt to level the playing field was "constitutionally problematic" because it inhibited Scott's free speech and the wealthy former health care executive's ability to fund his campaign.

Florida secretary of state spokeswoman Jennifer Davis said the office would not challenge the decision. "We need some finality to move through the election process," she said.

The appellate court's ardent decision made a rehearing unlikely to succeed. And a similar ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in January protecting political speech made an appeal to the high court seem equally futile.

McCollum campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said they are still considering their options, and given the court's inclination, might ask the judges to strike the state's $500 contribution limit, too.

McCollum's cash-strapped primary campaign needed the money to match Scott's stratospheric spending. With affiliated political committees included, Scott's expenses now top $30 million compared to $10 million for his rival.

McCollum is surviving with a $1.7 million infusion of matching money from taxpayers granted under another provision in the law, and the campaign is expected to receive more later this week.

The money is fueling a nasty ad war.

Scott's latest salvo blasts McCollum for voting for tax increases while in Congress. McCollum's spots link President Barack Obama to Scott for the stimulus money his companies received.

McCollum's only positive ad came early in the campaign. It featured the endorsement of former Gov. Jeb Bush, who is expected to join McCollum as he flies around the state campaigning Monday, the first day of early voting.

John Frank can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

State, McCollum abandon legal defense of taxpayer matching money for candidates 08/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 5, 2010 3:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show


    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.