TALLAHASSEE --- Gov. Ron DeSantis and Senate President Wilton Simpson are two of the most-powerful political figures in Florida.
And they dominated fundraising in November as they prepare for statewide campaigns next year, according to newly filed finance reports.
DeSantis raised slightly more than $6 million during the month for his campaign account and the political committee Friends of Ron DeSantis, as a torrent of cash continued pouring in to support his re-election bid.
The DeSantis political committee had about $66.7 million in cash on hand as of Nov. 30, after raising $4.53 million in November. The committee topped $4 million in contributions for the ninth straight month and received 25 contributions of $50,000 or more in November, according to the Division of Elections database.
DeSantis formally launched his campaign in November and opened the campaign account. He quickly raised $1.49 million for the account, while spending just shy of $100,000.
Meanwhile, Simpson, R-Trilby, is looking to move next year from the Senate president’s office to the Cabinet position of agriculture commissioner. While he does not face any prominent opponents, Simpson raised about $1.27 million in November for his campaign account and four political committees he chairs.
Simpson collected $256,826 for his campaign account and had more than $582,000 in cash on hand as of Nov. 30, the finance reports show. He also raised a total of $1.015 million for the committees. In all, the committees had more than $8 million in cash on hand.
State political candidates and committees faced a Friday deadline for filing reports detailing November finance activity. The reports continued to show DeSantis dwarfing his Democratic challengers in the money chase.
Among the Democratic gubernatorial candidates, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist had the best fundraising month, collecting a total of $607,000 for his campaign account and the committee Friends of Charlie Crist. As of Nov. 30, Crist had nearly $993,000 on hand in his campaign account and about $2.54 million with the committee.
Nikki Fried, who is trying to move from agriculture commissioner to governor, raised $106,086 for her campaign account last month and $110,223 for her Florida Consumers First political committee. Fried had $776,697 on hand in her campaign account and nearly $2.58 million with the committee.
The third prominent Democrat in the gubernatorial race, Sen. Annette Taddeo of Miami, raised a total of about $101,000 in November for her campaign account and her Fight Back Florida political committee. The campaign account had nearly $155,000 on hand, while the committee had about $462,000.
Among other statewide candidates, Republican Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis raised $199,675 for his campaign account and $193,530 for his Treasure Florida political committee. As of Nov. 30, he had about $399,000 in cash on hand in his campaign account and about $2.86 million on hand with the committee.
Also, Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody raised about $218,000 for her campaign account and the Friends of Ashley Moody political committee. Moody had nearly $475,000 on hand in the campaign account and $2.95 million on hand with the committee.
Jim Saunders is a reporter for the News Service of Florida