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Senate Contributions Increase Significantly Over 1998

The following report was released by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit program dedicated to accurate, comprehensive and unbiased documentation and research on campaign finance at the state level. The Institute is an outgrowth of collaboration between the Western States Center, the Northeast Citizen Action Resource Center, and Democracy South.

FOR RELEASE: June 11, 2001
CONTACT: Sue O'Connell, 406-449-2480

HELENA, Mont. - Florida candidates for state-level offices raised nearly $47.4 million in the 2000 election cycle, with legislative candidates accounting for $41.6 million of that amount, a preliminary review of campaign contributions shows.

Two statewide races drew about $5.7 million in contributions. Candidates for state treasurer raised $3.49 million, while candidates for education commissioner raised $2.27 million, the review by the National Institute on Money in State Politics showed.

The Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that compiles and analyzes campaign contribution information for state-level races across the country. Florida's preliminary contribution records for 2000 are available online and currently can be searched by candidate and by contributor.

The Institute's preliminary review of the data showed:

· The 51 Senate candidates raised an average of $238,283 in 2000, up 41 percent from the average $168,623 raised by Senate candidates in 1998. The 335 House candidates raised an average of $87,993, for a 16 percent increase over the 1998 average of $75,534.

· The top two fundraisers in the Senate both won open seats, with Republican Ken Pruitt raising $786,194 in his race for Senate District 27 and Republican Durrell Peaden raising $667,200 in his Senate District 1 bid.

· Republican Connie Mack led House candidates in fundraising, accumulating $590,544 to win the open House District 91 seat. Republican House Speaker Tom Feeney followed at $477,532 in his successful re-election bid.

· Winning candidates in the Senate raised, on average, $358,623, while their general election opponents raised 46 percent of that amount - $166,703, on average. Losing candidates in the primary election raised an average of $142,970.

· Winning House candidates raised an average of $149,931, while their general election opponents raised 41 percent of that amount, or $61,906. Primary election losers raised an average of $48,194.

· House incumbents raised an average $151,237, compared to the $55,347 average raised by challengers. Candidates for open House seats raised, on average, $79,449. Fundraising was more evenly spread among Senate candidates, with incumbents raising, on average, $243,917, and challengers raising slightly more - $248,060. Candidates for open seats raised an average of $235,245.

· Sixty-three of the 141 winning legislative candidates, or 43 percent, were incumbents; many incumbents were prevented from seeking re-election in 2000 because of term limits. In addition, 125 of the winners, or 89 percent, raised the most money in their races. Overall, 126 had the advantage of either incumbency or money.

"Even with term limits changing who can run for office, money still wins the race nine times out of 10," noted Samantha Sanchez, Institute co-director. "So for those people with an economic interest in legislative policy, it's business as usual."

Preliminary analysis shows the state Republican and Democratic parties were the top contributors to campaigns, at $2,682,654 and $2,078,461, respectively. Eight candidates also were among the top contributors, largely financing their own campaigns. Other top contributors were the Realtors Political Action Committee (PAC) Florida, $123,000; Florida Dental PAC, $118,958; Florida Electric Coops PAC, $115,958; PowerPAC Florida Power, $107,579; and Anheuser Busch, $96,000.

The Institute will be doing further analysis of all major contributors to Florida candidates in the 2000 election cycle in order to identify their occupations and employers. When that analysis is complete, the information may be searched by candidate, contributor, and the types of economic and political interests contributing to state-level campaigns. Currently, the Institute's Web site,, contains searchable contribution data identifying the economic interests of contributors in the 1998 Florida elections.

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