TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott garnered nearly $1.2 million for his re-election campaign in March, more than double the amount of direct contributions collected by Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed Thursday.
The latest reports show the two candidates' campaign accounts, in which contributions are capped at $3,000 per individual, are neck-and-neck, with Crist at $2,337,795.53 and Scott at $2,515,925.12. The reports also show that Crist's "Charlie Crist for Florida" political committee raised $940,870, more than triple the $361,910 in March contributions to the "Let's Get to Work" committee backing Scott's re-election effort.
The Crist committee's largest contribution --- $200,000 --- came from Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn's law firm, which has already given the former Florida governor $400,000 since Crist launched the committee in November.
"Big news: We raised more than $1.5 million in March, our best month since we launched this campaign. Already more than 11,000 people have chipped in -- that's incredible, and it's only going to get better," Crist said in a Facebook post Thursday.
Scott's committee transferred more than $27 million from a now-shuttered political committee into the new committee last month. The "Let's Get to Work" committee's $27,757,277 total, which included a $100,000 contribution last month from U.S. Sugar, overshadows the $5.3 million Crist's committee has collected thus far.
Democratic candidate Nan Rich collected nearly $25,000 last month, bringing her campaign total to $328,056.66, according to the reports filed with the Florida Department of State. The reports also show that Rich, a former Florida Senate minority leader, spent nearly $230,000 so far.
Citizens for a Progressive Florida, a political committee backing Rich, raised $7,000, bringing the committee's total to $92,815.
The campaign reports also showed the Florida Democratic Party raised $2,155,205.76 during the first quarter of the year, more than double what the Dems collected in the previous quarter.
Republican Party of Florida campaign reports were not posted on the Division of Elections website Thursday evening, but party officials reported that they raised $10,371,774 from January through March, nearly five times more than the Democrats.
"All of the campaign finance reports are out for the first quarter and the numbers speak for themselves. … We out-raised Charlie Crist's operation by $11 million in the first quarter of 2014," Republican Party spokesman Matt Moon said in a news release that pointed to contributions to the parties, the candidates and the candidates' committees.
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