TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign says he raised $10.7 million in his first full quarter as a Senate candidate, an eye-popping number three times larger than any quarter ever posted by his opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
“Florida families have had enough of career politicians in Washington who care more about their own jobs than the well-being of the families they serve,” Scott said Sunday in a statement announcing the numbers.
By contrast, Nelson reported raising $3.2 million in the first quarter, which was his biggest quarterly haul since joining the Senate in 2001. At that time, he reported $10.5 million cash on hand, less than Scott brought in during his first quarter as a federal candidate. Nelson has not yet announced his second quarter numbers.
The release from Scott’s campaign does not highlight how much he chipped in from his personal wealth, which now stands at $232 million. Because he started his campaign with a wave of TV ads, it is widely believed he has kicked in some level of personal cash, but his campaign will not confirm. He won his first gubernatorial race in 2010 using more than $70 million of his own money, and used $15 million in loans late in his 2014 reelection campaign to eek out a close victory against Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist.
The money does not count the $1.9 million cash on hand for New Republican, a super PAC supporting Scott’s bid, or a separate joint fundraising committee with the National Republican Senatorial Committee. That committee is transferring money to Scott’s campaign, but it’s so far unclear how much.
Nelson has spent a fraction of what Scott and his supporters have so far, but the race remains tight in most public polling. Though some polls have been all over the board, the Real Clear Politics average for the race has Scott up 45-43 on Nelson, which is within the margin of error.
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