William March, (@WMarchTBO)
TAMPA — Former Gov. Charlie Crist appears to have raised more money than Gov. Rick Scott during the month of February — a situation that could seem shocking considering Scott is the top-spending candidate in the history of Florida politics.
But Republicans say the monthly figures look that way only because of a strategic shift in Scott’s fundraising tactics intended to take advantage of discounts for buying political ads and loopholes in Florida’s political fundraising laws.
The story illustrates those laws’ bewildering complexity, with so many loopholes experts say there is no longer any effective limit on political contributions.
For the month of February, Crist has reported raising $374, 767 for his campaign and $817,350 for his independent political committee, Charlie Crist for Florida, for a total of almost $1.2 million.
Scott, meanwhile, reported raising $585,318 for his campaign, and about $186,718 for his independent committee, Let’s Get to Work, for a total of about $772,000.
The totals “continue to show Charlie Crist’s broad base of support that’s out there,” said Bob Poe, veteran Democratic activist and fundraiser who works with Crist’s committee. “Another month over $1 million – no other Democrat has ever done that before.”
Crist totalled more than a million in his campaign and independent committee in November, December and January as well, for a total of close to $6 million.
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