Polls tell us that few voters are paying close attention to the Florida governor's race. But these early months still matter. Some candidates are pulling in big money and gearing up for a protracted primary fight. And some candidates are Democrats.
Fine, that's an oversimplification. A few Democrats had decent February fundraising numbers. But the trend of Republicans outraising their Democratic counterparts largely continued in the shortest month of the year. And we don't even have all of the numbers yet.
The Tallahassee mayor made plenty of noise in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. But once again, his fundraising languished in February. Gillum raised over $245,000 between his campaign and an associated political committee — the lowest total of any declared candidate last month. Were it not for a $100,000 donation from Collective Future, which supports black progressives running for local, state and federal office, Gillum's fundraising numbers would have been that much worse.
With a $660,000 haul, Graham posted her best fundraising month since May 2017, her first month on the campaign. Her father was a big reason why. Former Florida Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham donated $250,000 to his daughter's cause. Graham's campaign again touted its large number of individual donors — 15,000 and counting.
The Orlando-area entrepreneur is off to a relatively strong start in 2018, pulling in more than $250,000 in back-to-back months. That number would be modest for almost any other candidate, but it's fairly impressive for King, who has little name recognition and less political experience. He's got more than $1.7 million cash on hand.
The Miami Beach mayor continued to outraise his Democratic opponents in February — with another assist from his own checkbook. $800,000 of the $1.2 million Levine raised in February came in the form of a campaign loan from the mayor himself. Still, February was a relatively strong month for the Democratic candidate who's proven to have the deepest pockets.
The speaker of the Florida House has not declared his candidacy for governor, but he's widely expected to. Florida law barred Corcoran from raising money during the legislative session, so his political committee, Watchdog PAC, had a quiet February.
The Republican congressman has burst out of the gate in 2018. In 50 days on the campaign trail, DeSantis has raised $5.4 million — including over $2 million in February. (Over $2 million of DeSantis' 2018 total has come from "Fund for Florida's Future," a committee that has raised money for DeSantis for the better part of a year.)
Armed with a seeming omnipresence on Fox News and the endorsement of President Donald Trump, one thing to watch: How much money will DeSantis have to raise to ward off his formidable Republican opposition?
The Florida agriculture commissioner has proven to be the most prolific fundraiser of any governor candidate. February he added to his already sizable war chest, raking in $905,630.80 between his campaign and an associated political committee. The Republican is sitting on $17.46 million cash on hand as we creep closer to the August 28 primary.
Read more: January governor campaign finance roundup