FL Candidates without Real Challengers, Including Publicly Financed, Take in, Spend Large Amounts

Tampa Bay Times The Buzz: “Kathleen Shanahan, former chief of staff to Jeb Bush and Republican fundraiser writes, “..Sitting on piles of cash with 15- to 20-point leads over their opponents, candidates continued to press donors for hundreds of dollars in the final weeks of their campaigns. With ads portraying hard-working families who struggled to get by during a faltering economy, elected officials in noncontested and extremely uncompetitive races on both sides of the aisle shamelessly spent wads of donor cash in the thousands while their opponents showed no signs of gaining traction with voters…

“But St. Petersburg resident Rick Carson today has a letter to the Tampa Bay Timespraising Shanahan’s column and noting how often he saw TV commercials for Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who faced no credible opposition:

“‘… One hopes Atwater oversees the state’s finances in a more conservative manner than he so lavishly spent his campaign funds.'”

“While some publicly financed candidates faced real opponents, “the same can’t be said of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and CFO Atwater, who for all practical purposes ran for re-election unopposed.Their Democratic opponents, Thaddeus Hamilton and William Rankin, were no-name Democrats with virtually no money and even less support from the state Democratic party.

“No matter. Atwater and Putnam – self-described fiscal conservatives and leading prospects for governor in 2018 – both drank liberally from the public campaign financing trough. Their unknown rivals didn’t even qualify for matching funds, but Atwater took more than $420,000 and Putnam nearly $460,000. Their campaign consultants are surely grateful.”

Something to note and work one once public financing is fully in place, but I’d still rather have them take that money from the public than private interets.


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