What business tycoons and political megadonors have their hands in Florida’s race for governor?
Dark money and untraceable PACs make knowing some of that impossible. But six months out from the general election, several prominent names have already contributed six figures from their own or their businesses’ pockets.
Here are some of the largest individual donors for each of the (likely) seven top candidates for the state’s highest office. Numbers come from state campaign finance contribution records, last filed in April, and include donations to the candidates and their committees.
Adam Putnam (R)
Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture
- The Busch family, former owners of Anheuser-Busch Companies. Putnam received more than $200,000 from Busches, including $197,000 from August A. Busch and $3,000 from August A. Busch III.
- Robert Stork, founder and CEO of Communications International. Stork‘s “Robert W Stork Revocable Trust” has donated $125,000 to Putnam’s PAC. He also chipped in $3,000 under his own name.
Ron DeSantis (R)
- Richard Uihlein, a shipping supplies magnate from Illinois, gave DeSantis $750,000. Ted Uihlein also gave $500.
- Fredrick Sontag, a GOP megadonor in Ponte Vedra Beach, has donated $500,000.
Richard Corcoran (R)
Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (has not declared candidacy)
- Norman Braman, billionaire car dealer in Miami and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, has donated $175,000, as well as $46,000 from his dealerships.
- Robert Rubenstein, a Coconut Grove lawyer, has donated $250,000. The former Charlie Crist donor also gave Democrat Philip Levine $100,000.
Philip Levine (D)
Former mayor of Miami Beach
- Bobby Kotick, a video game tycoon in Santa Monica, Calif., has given Levine a whopping $306,000. Kotick is the CEO of Activision Blizzard, which owns the companies that have produced the “Call of Duty,” “Guitar Hero” and “Overwatch” games. Kotick also began dating Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in 2016. Sandberg has given a relatively smaller donation of $3,000.
- Scott Robins, a Miami Beach real estate developer and Levine’s business partner, has given $103,000 to the candidate. The two are also about to sell $70 million worth of property, The Real Deal reported. Robins’ father Gerald has also given $103,000, and his brother Craig has given another $100,000.
Former U.S. Representative
- James Finch, owner of Phoenix Construction in Lynn Haven, has donated $175,000, and his business has given another $15,000. Finch is notable because in 2014, Gov. Rick Scott ran attack ads against Charlie Crist, saying he cruised around in Finch’s private jet, and that Finch had a history of environmental violations. The ad was rated “True” by Politifact:
- James Pugh, Jr., who owns the real estate group Epoch Residential, gave $125,000 to Graham, as well as $2,500 to Chris King.
Chris King (D)
Real estate investor
- Paul Morgan of Altamonte Springs, a principal and director at King’s Elevation Financial Group, gave the candidate at least $202,000, and Morg Personal Holdings, which Morgan controls, donated another $61,000.
- William Orosz, president of the real estate development firm Hanover Capital Partners in Orlando, hasn’t given anything to King directly. But SAM of Heathrow, LLC, which lists Orosz as president, gave King $100,000 in May 2017.
Mayor of Tallahassee
- George Soros and Alex Soros, the famous New York liberal megadonors, are responsible for about 18 percent of all of Gillum’s contributions. George Soros gave the candidate $200,000, while Alex Soros added $50,000.
Contact Langston Taylor at 727-893-8659 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @langstonitaylor.