While none of the five Republican candidates running for the U.S. Senate in Florida have much statewide name identification, there is no doubt who is the leader when it comes to fundraising.
In the first three months of 2016, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis raised more money than all four of this GOP opponents combined. Between Jan. 1 and March 31, DeSantis collected $1,135,635 - about $4,000 more than U.S. Rep. David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, homebuilder Carlos Beruff and businessman Todd Wilcox combined to raise.
Since he got in the race, DeSantis, a Republican who lives in Ponte Vedra Beach in northeast Florida, has raised over $4 million and spent $1.5 million. That gave him with $3.2 million in his campaign account as of April 1 - millions ahead of any of his GOP foes.
DeSantis continues to get a boost from other members of Congress. U.S. Reps Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee;Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas; Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., and Andy Harris R-MD, are among those who used political action committees they run to donate to DeSantis since Jan. 1.
The most any other candidates raised in the first three months of 2016 came from Wilcox, who raised $358,811, but $250,000 of that came from a personal loan that the Orlando businessman gave his campaign.
Jolly, R-Indian Shores, posted the next best fundraising quarter, collecting $308,298. Lopez-Cantera raised $251,481 and Beruff, in just his first quarter on the campaign trail, raised $212,982, though nearly half of that came from donations he gave his campaign.
CASH ON HAND
Below is a list of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate ranked by who had the most money in their campaign accounts at the end of March.
- $3,221,536 - U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis
- $1,083,028 - Todd Wilcox
- $562,657 - U.S. Rep. David Jolly
- $389,284 - Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera
- $59,631 - Carlos Beruff
DeSantis also is benefitting from a so-called super PAC that is supporting his campaign. That PAC, called Fighting For Florida Fund, cannot directly coordinate with DeSantis, but has stockpiled $1.2 million to support him. Reform Washington, a super PAC supporting Lopez-Cantera, had $740,000 in the bank as of the start of April. Jolly had $272,629 in a PAC called FloridAmerican Conservatives. A super PAC formed to support Beruff, Lets Cleanup Washington, had not raised any money as of March 31. There is no super PAC supporting Wilcox.