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Florida Campaign Matching Funds Top $10 Million

For the first time since voters passed a constitutional amendment in 1998 to back public campaign financing, Florida this year will top $10 million in matching funds for statewide political candidates. Gov. Ron DeSantis remains the biggest beneficiary of matching funds as he runs for re-election, but Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist on Friday will draw the largest payment for the second straight week.

For the first time since voters passed a constitutional amendment in 1998 to back public campaign financing, Florida this year will top $10 million in matching funds for statewide political candidates.

Gov. Ron DeSantis remains the biggest beneficiary of matching funds as he runs for re-election, but Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist on Friday will draw the largest payment for the second straight week.

The Florida Division of Elections on Thursday posted information online that showed Crist will pick up $193,763 on Friday after getting $277,015 last week, putting his overall matching-funds total at $2.4 million.

DeSantis, who is set to receive $190,195 on Friday, will be up to nearly $5.93 million in matching funds this year. He received $188,258 last week from the program, which provides matches for contributions of $250 or less from individuals to statewide candidates’ campaign accounts.

Matching funds are not available for contributions to political committees or outside of statewide races.

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With the payments Friday, this year’s matching funds will total about $10.037 million, surpassing the $9.85 million that went to candidates in 2018. Republican state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is in line to get $2,740 on Friday, bringing his total to $194,082.

Patronis’ Democratic challenger, former legislator Adam Hattersley, is set to get $131 on Friday, bringing his total to $126,968, according to the Division of Elections. Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody will receive $2,300 on Friday, bringing her total to $260,038.

Moody’s Democratic challenger, Aramis Ayala, has not participated in the program. Naomi Blemur, who won the Democratic primary for agriculture commissioner, has not drawn money from the program, while her Republican opponent, Senate President Wilton Simpson, has not signed up for it.

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Money this year also went to Nikki Fried, who lost the Aug. 23 Democratic primary for governor, and Daniel Uhlfelder, who lost the Democratic primary for attorney general.

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