TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Cash is flowing into the 2022 race for governor, with more than $5 million raised in July alone.
Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a more than 20-1 advantage in terms of cash on hand, but it’s likely to be short lived.
The political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, has been having a great year, raising just over $40 million since January.
“Illegal immigration, on shutting down businesses, on masking. All of those issues have been things people have been fighting back against and he’s been the guy fighting it,” said DeSantis Campaign Advisor Nick Iarossi.
In July alone, the committee took in just over $4.2 million.
Much of it from the sale of merchandise with the theme “Keep Florida Free.”
Nearly 14,000 of the 18,000 contributors last month gave less than $50.
Now a Democrat, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist raised $503,000 last month from 2,900 contributors.
Crist has $2. 2 million on hand in his two political accounts.
“Nobody thought that I was going to be able to win,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried during a recent Democratic event.
And, as Florida’s only elected statewide Democrat, Fried’s political committee has raised $1.4 million since the first of the year, and another $526,000 in the campaign account.
She trailed Crist in July fundraising but has more on hand.
Democrats say the cash on hand now doesn’t matter. What’s important, they say, is whether they are competitive after their primary.
Fried has been critical of the governor for raising money instead of spending every day in Florida.
“He needs to be focusing on the people of our state and not traveling across the country,” said Fried Wednesday.
But beyond criticizing the governor, Fried declined to discuss her fundraising.
“We are in the Capitol and I don’t want to talk campaign strategies and platforms. We can certainly do that offline,” said Fried.
And the fundraising is only going to get more intense.
The governor’s goal is to raise $150 million.
Democrats are hoping for $100 million when all is said and done.
The Crist campaign declined to be interviewed for this story.