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Andrew Gillum has George Soros to thank for improved fundraising numbers

Gillum also got $31,000 from Collective Future, a D.C. firm.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum speaks at the Cafe Con Tampa meeting at the Oxford Exchange on Friday, December 8, 2017. [Kirby Wilson, Tampa Bay Times]
Published Jan. 8, 2018
Updated Jan. 8, 2018

Andrew Gillum's campaign for governor saw a fundraising spike in December — thanks in large part to $100,000 from billionaire George Soros.

The progressive Tallahassee Mayor raised over $255,000 between his campaign and Forward Florida, an associated PAC, the campaign announced Thursday. The announced haul is the most Gillum has raised since March 2017, the first month of his campaign.

Gillum changed fundraising chairs in October after a string of anemic fundraising months. In November, he hired a new campaign manager.

Soros' December contribution was the second big money donation from the billionaire, who also gave Gillum's PAC $100,000 that first month.

"Andrew Gillum has the momentum in the Democratic primary, and supporters all across this state have powered us from Day One," Communications director Geoff Burgan said in a statement. "George Soros has dedicated his philanthropic efforts to empowering grassroots communities to make their voices heard in our country, and we're pleased to embody those same voices through our candidacy."

Soros has been responsible for a full quarter of donations to Forward Florida since Gillum launched his campaign.

Of the $172,770 raised by Forward Florida in December, a combined $131,000 came from Soros and Collective Future, listed on disclosure forms as a Washington D.C. Research/Education firm. In an email, Burgan said that Collective Future is "associated with" Collective PAC, which supports black progressives running for local, state and federal office. Burgan noted that Gillum has appeared at an event with the group in the past.

Soros has a history of backing progressive causes, including the influential and his own Open Society foundations. He's also a favorite punching bag of the right and the target of frequent conspiracy theories.

Forward Florida spent just $40,000 in December for a net haul of about $132,000 — its first month in the black since April 2017. Gillum's campaign expenditures have yet to be released.

This post has been updated with clarification from the campaign about Gillum's relationship with Collective Future.