Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The money race: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio come up big in Florida

The story of Jeb Bush versus Marco Rubio in the Sunshine State, new presidential campaign finance reports show, is a tale of two cities.

First, look to Tallahassee to see which 2016 candidate the GOP establishment favors:

Former Gov. Bush, whose onetime aides, advisers and operatives dominate the lobbying corps centered in the Florida capital, outraised former House Speaker Rubio by 15-to-1, more than $198,000 to nearly $13,000, according to an analysis by the Tampa Bay Times.

Then look to Miami, where both candidates reside, to see how formidable a rival Rubio is to Bush:

Rubio raised $512,000 in Miami-Dade, the county where both men launched their presidential campaigns, nearly as much as Bush's $557,000.

The reports detail donations to the actual campaign, which are capped at $2,700 for the primary and $2,700 for the general election. There again, Bush's support from GOP elites is more apparent than his support from rank-and-file Republicans, who tend to make smaller donations.

"Marco's done a great job over the last few years staying in touch with base, and it's paying off in small-dollar donations," Republican consultant John Wehrung said.

Overall for the first fundraising period, Rubio reported $8.9 million plus $3.2 million transferred from his U.S. Senate re-election campaign. (He had to refund about $821,000 to Senate donors.) Bush reported $11.4 million.

Bush raised an additional $103 million through a super PAC run by one of his longtime advisers. Two outside groups affiliated with Rubio pulled in $32 million, giving him the resources to run an extended campaign even if he does not perform well in Iowa, which holds the first nominating caucuses early next year, or New Hampshire, which follows with the first primary.

The political action committees, ostensibly removed from the candidates they're helping, do not have to adhere to contribution limits; a wealthy donor can simply stroke a $1 million check, or more, as is the case with Rubio benefactor Norman Braman, a Miami billionaire.

Details on the outside groups' fundraising won't be public until the end of the month.

• • •

To more accurately compare the two candidates on home state performance, the Times removed contributions Rubio transferred from his Senate re-election committee, collected before he was an official presidential candidate. The analysis also doesn't account for "unitemized" small contributors, who are not listed by name or address. Rubio's reports don't say how much of his unitemized money was transferred and how much was given directly to the presidential campaign.

For Bush, the analysis stripped out $388,000 of his own money spent on "testing the waters" activity before he became an official candidate.

Florida came through big for both, accounting for 26 percent of the money Rubio raised through June 30 and 23 percent of what Bush collected, the Times analysis shows.

Bush is the most formidable fundraiser in the Republican field and he is just getting started. The former governor raised almost $1 million more than Rubio, who launched his campaign two months earlier than Bush did on June 15.

In the Tampa Bay political battleground counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando, Bush raised nearly five times as much as Rubio, $314,000 versus $63,000.

Bush, who returns to Tallahassee on Monday for a speech about reforming government, pulled in on average nearly $200,000 a day from Floridians, vastly more than Rubio did in far more time.

But Rubio has withstood widespread early doubts that he could not compete financially or otherwise with Bush, 62, who aided Rubio's rise in state politics. Rubio, 44 and the son of Cuban immigrants, is running on his biography and positioning himself as a next-generation leader. Though he's below Bush in early polls, Rubio remains a top candidate.

"I was surprised that Sen. Rubio's Florida fundraising numbers were as close to Gov. Bush's numbers as they were," said Screven Watson, a Democratic consultant in Tallahassee. "I guess I attribute that to the fact he is a sitting United States senator."

"Still, Jeb was an extremely popular and incredibly connected two-term Florida Republican governor versus Marco, who really didn't have a credible statewide financial network established until the Senate race in 2010," Watson added. "The question for me is, can Sen. Rubio sustain it? I believe Gov. Bush can and will."

Rubio's team is trying to emphasize a conservative approach, noting he has more cash on hand than any other Republican candidate (again, he had a two-month head start on Bush and it does not include money raised by outside groups).

In a new fundraising appeal on Friday, Rubio's campaign boasted that it had no debt and had spent relatively little of its money. The campaign also has worked to line up TV advertising time early, before rates skyrocket.

"No debt — no waste — lean — efficient — effective. That's the campaign we are running," the fundraising email read, with a link for people to give more. "That's the way Marco will run the federal government. Click here now and help him do it."

• • •

Bush and Rubio did not have Florida checkbooks all to themselves.

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67, raised nearly $3 million in Florida, including $272,000 from Tampa Bay, where she has yet to attend a fundraiser. And with Bush and Rubio dividing GOP donors, she overwhelmingly outraised both of them in Miami-Dade, pulling in $944,000.

After Bush and Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz raised the most from Florida, with $317,000, followed by surgeon Ben Carson of West Palm Beach with $219,000, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul with $191,000, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now of Santa Rosa Beach in the Panhandle, with $104,000.

With Florida holding its primary March 15, it's likely that Bush and Rubio could be forced to face off, a battle that would dominate national news coverage. It would test Bush's appeal among regular voters, whom he has not faced since 2002.

The latest fundraising reports suggest Rubio, for now, may enjoy more enthusiasm among the grass roots voters. Nationally, a mere 3 percent of Bush's money came from people who gave $200 or less. For Rubio, it was 27 percent.

The Rubio campaign counts more than 12,000 Florida donors since it launched in April — more in his home state than the 9,900 Bush touts having nationwide.

Small-dollar donors can be particularly important to a campaign because the candidate can go back to that donor for more money later in a campaign, but not to donors who have already maxed out.

Nobody doubts Bush will have the resources to be among the last viable candidates in the race.

"This race is a marathon, not a sprint," Wehrung said. "And although it takes more time, I think Jeb's stronger organizational efforts — in Florida and around the country — should pay off for him in the long run with more key endorsements and hard money donations from the GOP base."

Bush is relying heavily on his family's legendary donor network. About 150 major "bundlers" for George W. Bush have given to his brother, among them at least 20 Floridians. What's more, Bush took in more donations from Goldman Sachs employees than any other employer, emphasizing his reach among the elite.

Bush, in an interview Thursday, noted the short window between when he launched the campaign and the end of the fundraising quarter.

"We had 16 days and we wanted to send a statement of seriousness about the campaign," he said. "We'll have ample time to broaden that out and that's the intention."

Times director of data Adam Playford contributed to this report. Contact Adam C. Smith at asmith@tampabay.com. Follow @adamsmithtimes. Contact Alex Leary at aleary@tampabay.com. Follow @learyreports. Contact Eli Murray at emurray@tampabay.com. Follow @eli_mur.

Millions raised and spent so far

Numbers reported to the Federal Election Commission are in bold, the other numbers have been announced to the media. Totals include money raised by the candidates and outside groups that are supporting them.

Total raised

(in millions)

Candidate raised Spent Cash on hand Super pacs raised Other groups raised
Jeb Bush $114.4 $11.4 $3.1 $8.4 $103.0
Hillary Rodham Clinton 63.1 47.5 18.7 28.9 15.6
Ted Cruz 52.3 14.3 5.8 8.5 38.0
Marco Rubio 40.7 8.9 * 3.1 9.9 16.1 15.8
Rick Perry 17.9 1.1 0.7 0.9 16.8
Bernie Sanders 15.2 15.2 3.1 12.2 No super pac
John Kasich 11.5 11.5
Ben Carson 10.6 10.6 5.9 4.7
Mike Huckabee 8.0 2.0 1.1 0.9 6.0
Rand Paul 6.9 6.9 2.8 4.2
Carly Fiorina 5.1 1.7 0.7 1.0 3.4
Lindsey Graham 3.7 3.7 1.1 2.6
Martin O'Malley 2.0 2.0 0.7 1.3
Donald Trump 1.9 1.9 1.4 0.5
Rick Santorum 0.6 0.6 0.4 0.2
Bobby Jindal 0.6 0.6 0.1 0.5 17
Lincoln Chafee 0.4 0.4 0.1 0.3 No super pac
George Pataki 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.2
Chris Christie
Scott Walker
Jim Webb

* Marco Rubio converted his Senate committee into his presidential campaign, starting his presidential campaign with more than $4 million in cash. The widely reported figure of $12 million raised in the second quarter includes that cash, minus refunds.

Note: Republicans John Kasich, Scott Walker and Chris Christie and Democrat Jim Webb did not file as candidates with the FEC before the latest fundraising quarter ended, so they are not required to report their finances until October. Republicans Ted Cruz and Ben Carson were the only candidates to report fundraising for the first quarter, and their totals include those numbers.

Sources: Federal Election Commission, campaigns, news reports New York Times

Jeb BushHillary Rodham ClintonMarco Rubio
Tampa Bay$314,050.00$271,523.01$63,036.92
Hillsborough$153,050.00$177,518.87$38,341.92
Pinellas$130,200.00$88,216.75$22,120.00
Pasco$30,800.00$4,937.39$2,070.00
Hernando0$850.00$505.00
Florida fundraising

Jeb Bush: $2,590,015.95

Marco Rubio: $1,752,815.71

Hillary Rodham Clinton: $2,954,797.61

Total raised in Florida by major presidential campaigns: $9,013,113.72

Total raised U.S.: $105,697,861.08

Which means Florida is worth 8.5% of all contributions

Tampa Bay fundraising

For the fundraising reporting period that ended June 30.

Jeb BushHillary Rodham ClintonMarco Rubio
Tampa Bay$314,050.00$271,523.01$63,036.92
Hillsborough$153,050.00$177,518.87$38,341.92
Pinellas$130,200.00$88,216.75$22,120.00
Pasco$30,800.00$4,937.39$2,070.00
Hernando0$850.00$505.00





The money race: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio come up big in Florida 07/18/15 [Last modified: Monday, July 20, 2015 10:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse

    National

    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  2. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  3. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  4. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”


  5. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.