Andrew Gillum transformed from cash-strapped underdog to well-financed contender in the span of a few days.
According to end-of-August campaign finance records published Friday by the Florida Division of Elections, Gillum raised slightly more than $4 million during the first days of his general election campaign after winning the Democratic primary for Florida governor on Aug. 28. That’s more than 50 percent his entire primary campaign haul — and nearly eight times the $516,000 raised by his Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis, during the same time period.
The reports released Friday detail the period from Aug. 25 through Aug. 31, although almost all the money raised came in after the primary election.
Half the money Gillum raised came from hedge fund manager Donald Sussman and the Democratic Governors Association, with both donating $1 million a piece. Philanthropist Martha Laufer gave $250,000, topping off a list comprised mostly of about 39,000 small donations.
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“We feel it’s a good pickup opportunity,” David Turner, a DGA spokesman, said of the organization’s support of Gillum.
DeSantis, meanwhile, received $100,000 from a political committee of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, $50,000 a piece from gaming magnate Phil Ruffin and gasoline distributor Max Alvarez, and $25,000 from a political committee chaired by Congressman Matt Gaetz. The rest of the total came from about 2,450 smaller donations.
DeSantis, a Palm Coast congressman, spent the entirety of the Republican primary with less money than Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam, so the position is neither unfamiliar nor insurmountable. The totals also don’t reflect spending from third parties, or money dedicated to the race outside of the candidates’ official campaign accounts and political committees.
Polls show the race is tight in the early going.