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South Florida toy exec ready to pony up thousands for Murphy-Jolly run

As time ticks on the potential bipartisan run for governor, several wealthy backers have their checkbooks at the ready.
My Little Pony Rainbow Dash [AP]
My Little Pony Rainbow Dash [AP]
Published May 23, 2018
Updated May 23, 2018

Politics can be a nightmarish place: Attack ads. Dark money. Political "bogeymen."

Then there are the days when My Little Pony enters the fray.

That's right. The man whose company produces your favorite classic, rainbow toy horses is getting involved in the 2018 Florida election, and has pledged to back the potential bipartisan ticket of former Congressmen Patrick Murphy and David Jolly for governor and lieutenant governor.

READ MORE: Murphy-Jolly idea comes amid a push for a new approach to politics

"I think it's a great idea and a great opportunity for Florida, which is a swing state in so many ways, to show the country that this model works, said Jay Foreman, CEO of Basic Fun!, a Boca Raton-based toy company that, along with its conglomerates, also makes Lite-Brites and K'nex.

Under the possible plan, Murphy, a Democrat, would run for governor and if he survived the primary would nominate Jolly, a Republican, to be his running mate. While it's late in the election cycle to join the governor's race and the two still have not announced if they will pull the trigger, the idea has sparked media fascination and has polled well among prospective Democratic primary voters in Florida.

Foreman, a Democrat, said he's a longtime supporter of Murphy's and even held a fundraiser for him during one of his runs for Congress.

But Foreman, 55, was hardly aware Murphy was considering a run for governor alongside Jolly until the pair appeared on MSNBC Monday afternoon. Foreman then messaged Murphy immediately, he said, offering his support and his checkbook.

Foreman said he will likely start with a small $2,500 donation then possibly work his way up to a maximum of $20,000 to $40,000 and another hosted fundraiser.

"Jolly and Murphy get into it and I see two guys with fresh ideas and fresh faces," he said. "It gets me excited because this is the bench for future years in politics."

Foreman regularly gives to politicians in the thousands, and is someone who has supported Murphy's bids in the past. Similar is Barry Ginsburg of Stuart, a retired real estate executive who also said he's an early supporter of the Murphy-Jolly ticket.

"I think (bipartisanship) is needed at this time because it's hard to even talk to your friends and neighbors who have different affiliations … and there's something wrong with that and I think this has a shot to change it," Ginsburg said.

Finding wealthy donors is a must for politicians running statewide races in Florida, a state where expensive TV ads are king. Securing more of these donors could be a challenge for Murphy and Jolly should they decide to run, considering many heavy-hitters have already "committed" to other candidates who have been running their campaigns for months, if not years.

But Foreman doesn't think those challenges will stop them.

"Patrick looks to somebody like me for not only support on basic level, but also emotional support … because I tell him like it is and if I thought it was a dumb idea I would tell him," he said. "But it's not. I'm guessing he's going to go for it."