Florida's sputtering economy did not stop interest groups and donors from spending $306 million this election cycle on state political campaigns, according to final election year tallies released Friday.
The number is lower than the $550 million reported in the 2010 election cycle and does not include the massive amount of federal cash spent in the presidential race. But it points to a new trend: more dollars are going to campaign committees rather than individual candidates.
Three out of every four dollars were unlimited checks to political committees, while the rest went into the campaign accounts of individuals, which are capped at $500 a check.
The shift is a sign that Florida's $500 limit is outdated and dysfunctional — and ripe for reform, said Dan Krassner, executive director of Integrity Florida, which did the analysis of the campaign finance data released by the Florida Division of Elections.Read the whole thing here.
The story also lists the Florida Senate and House candidates who spent the most on their respective campaigns. No Manatee County candidates made the list, but here's what they spent through Nov. 1, the most recent information available:
Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, won, $460,861.21
Paula House, D-Lake Placid, defeated, $16,728.06
(The biggest-spending Senate candidate was former Sen. Chris Dorworth, R-Orlando, who was defeated for re-elected after spending $604,587.)
Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, won, $183,178.19
Greg Steube, R-Bradenton, won, $87,629.12
Adam Tebrugge, D-Bradenton, defeated, $49,975.70
Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, won, $20,975.94
Bob McCann, NPA-Bradenton, defeated, $19,760.93. (through Dec. 29)
(The biggest-spending House candidate was former Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, D-Fort Lauderdale, who was defeated after spending $1,185,030.)
Source: Florida Division of Elections