1. Florida Politics

Self-funded Carlos Beruff spends $3 million-plus on TV ads in Senate campaign

Republican candidate Carlos Beruff may be the biggest self-funder in the nation for any U.S. Senate seat this year. (Bradenton Herald]

Published May 24, 2016

TALLAHASSEE — With another surge in advertising, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff has spent more than $3 million on television spots statewide — most of that money from his own pocket.

It will be months before Beruff officially reports how much money he has invested in his own campaign, but it's expected to top $3 million, the campaign confirmed Monday. That would make Beruff the biggest self-funder in the nation for any U.S. Senate seat this year, surpassing Democrat Napoleon Harris, who put in $2.1 million of his own money but lost his primary election in Illinois earlier this year.

But he's got a long way to go to catch the top self-funder for a seat in Congress this year. Democrat David Trone, founder of Total Wine, spent more than $9.9 million of his own money, according to Federal Election Commission records, but lost in a primary for a seat in Congress representing Maryland's D.C.-suburbs in late April.

Beruff hasn't hidden the fact that he intends to self-fund a big part of his campaign. But in interviews he hasn't said exactly how much he plans to spend.

"I've always been a believer that if you don't bet on yourself how can you ask anyone else to," Beruff said in a recent interview with the Times/Herald.

Self-funders have not had a great track record running for the U.S. Senate since 2010. Since then, nearly 90 percent of candidates who have put $1 million of their own money into a U.S. Senate campaign have lost. In total, 34 candidates have put $1 million or more into their campaigns. Thirty of those candidates lost either in the primary or the general election. Only four — two Democrats and two Republicans — won seats in the U.S. Senate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Beruff is not the only self-funder among Florida Republicans trying to take Marco Rubio's seat in the Senate. Orlando-area businessman Todd Wilcox has put over $1 million into his campaign.

Beruff, a homebuilder from Manatee County, is the only candidate in the Republican Senate primary who has done substantial advertising on television so far. Since the second week of April, Beruff has been running advertisements regularly Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville, according to advertising contracts filed with the Federal Communication Commission.

Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera; U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach; U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores; Wilcox and Beruff are all competing in the Aug. 30 Republican primary while U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, are battling in the Democratic primary.

Contact Jeremy Wallace at or (850) 224-7263. Follow @jeremyswallace.


  1. President Donald Trump speaks at the Economic Club of New York at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    The explanation gets complicated.
  2. Jomari DeLeon, is pictured at at Gadsden Correctional Facility in Quincy, Florida August 7, 2019. Jomari is three years into a 15-year sentence for drug trafficking. She sold 48 tablets of prescription tablets over two days to an undercover officer. JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times
    Florida lawmakers agreed the state’s old drug sentencing laws went too far. But that means nothing to people serving time.
  3. Sen. Travis Hutson presents his Job Growth Grant Fund legislation to the Senate Education Committee on Nov. 12, 2019. The Florida Channel
    The original version would have targeted charter schools only.
  4. Florida Senator Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, was the sponsor of a law that was to go into effect Friday that would have created new requirements for abortion doctors that could have limited the number of clinics. But the U.S. Supreme Court threw out similar Texas restrictions, raising doubt about the fate of Florida's new law. [Scott Keeler | Times]
    The delay, which kicks a vote on the bill into mid-December, could stall what may be one of state lawmakers’ most contentious decisions on a political live wire going into a presidential election...
  5. A flag supporting President Donald Trump flutters near the University of Florida's Century Tower before an Oct. 10 appearance on campus by Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle. A controversy over the political nature of the event has led to calls for the impeachment of Student Body President Michael C. Murphy, who helped set it up. Courtesy of Chris Day
    A push to oust Student Body President Michael Murphy comes after an email surfaces, suggesting he worked with the Trump campaign to bring a political speech to campus.
  6. Morton Myers, 40, is an entrepreneur, a lifelong Clearwater resident and now a candidate for mayor who comes from a family of Scientologists. He says he is not a practicing Scientologist and is running to bring change and representation to all residents. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Morton Myers says he’s not an active member. But with family on Scientology’s staff, he says he’s uniquely positioned to find middle ground with the church.
  7. FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 file photo, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, after meeting with President Donald Trump about about responses to school shootings. Bondi is preparing to defend Trump against accusations that he pressured a foreign government to aid his re-election campaign. And she’s stepping down from a lobbying where she represented foreign interests (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP
    “People are going to discover all over again what Pam Bondi’s made of,” says the consultant who engineered her foray into politics 10 years ago.
  8. President Donald Trump speaks at New York City's 100th annual Veterans Day parade, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) SETH WENIG  |  AP
    Trump will speak at the Hollywood summit on Saturday, Dec. 7 before traveling to Orlando for the Florida GOP’s Statesman’s Dinner, the Republican Party of Florida’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
  9. President Donald Trump speaks in front of a painting of former President George Washington in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington on Oct. 27. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Trump pointed to Washington as precedent for an active businessman serving as president.
  10. The Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway was built in Tampa as toll road. Commissioners are divided over an elevated toll road proposed for southern Pasco.
    After frustration about their oversight of three potential new toll roads, the department moved up their timeline for scrutinizing the projects.