Promoting his vow to fund the elections of Democrats up and down the ticket if he is elected the Democratic nominee for governor, billionaire Jeff Greene said Monday night that he has put $5 million into his new Florida Defense Fund PAC. But his announcement offers no promise to help other Democrats if he fails to win the primary on Aug. 28.
The money will go toward seven targeted Florida Senate races "upon winning his own gubernatorial primary race."
"My opponents and I all have great ideas – but Democrats have had great ideas for the past 20 years, and we're all tired of losing," Greene said in a statement. "I'm the only person in this race able to go toe-to-toe and dollar-for-dollar with the Republicans to win in November. And I'm committed to taking the Senate with me. With five seats won we've got a Democratic-majority Senate."
When he visited the Tampa Bay Times editorial board nearly three weeks ago, the billionaire real estate mogul from Palm Beach was non-committal about how generous he would be with Democratic tickets should he lose the gubernatorial primary.
"Am I going to make it my life's work? Probably not as much," he said then.
We asked the campaign to clarify whether Greene was willing to help other Democrats before the primary and whether he would cap his support for the party at $5 million.
"Jeff Greene looks forward to contributing the $5 million or more to Senate races across the state upon becoming the nominee," a spokeswoman said.
Greene told the Miami Herald, "My hope is that we really do have a blue wave and they don't need anyhing from me. That's the goal."
More from the Greene announcement:
His pledge to fund down-ticket races also sets Greene apart from his Democratic opponents. Greene has now sent checks to key Senate races from across the state: Kayser Enneking (D-Gainesville), Amanda Murphy (D-New Port Richie), Janet Cruz (D-Tampa), Bob Doyel (D-Winter Haven), Lindsay Cross (D-St. Petersburg), Rob Levy (D-Stuart), David Perez (D-Coral Gables). He's also sent contributions to Democratic Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw and candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried. The checks cut so far represent only a fraction of the financial support Greene pledges to provide for Democratic candidates down the ticket and across the state.
"This is my vision for Florida: I will help Democrats take back the Senate, make a dent in the House, and defend Bill Nelson's U.S. Senate seat against Rick Scott," says Greene. "Just imagine how effective we can be together."
At least one prominent Democrat, state Rep. Carlos G. Smith, of Orlando has mocked Greene's promise of bankrolling Democrats: