BRADENTON – An electioneering committee headed by Florida Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) raked in $194,000 in contributions during February, according to recently-filed financial reports. That brings Innovate Florida PAC's total to $824,479.93, second in the state, and has created a buzz that Galvano is a strong contender for Senate President in 2018.
Galvano is outpacing influential Pinellas Senator Jack Latvala ($675,000) and trails only that of Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart), who has just over $1.1 million and is the frontrunner to lead the state's high chamber in 2016. Galvano's PAC is even ahead of Speaker-Designate Steve Crisafulli, a Jeb Bush favorite who is thought to be one of the top rising stars in the RPOF. Crisafulli's PAC has raised $652,000 so far, behind a strong push from health care giant Florida Blue (who alone has contributed $275,000).
Galvano drew his strongest support from a long list of groups in or related to the medical industry, while donors related to agriculture and real estate/land development were also particularly generous. Disney ($25,991.95) and its close ally the Florida Chamber of Commerce ($22,500), who are both lobbying to prevent gambling expansion, were key donors.
Influential lobbyist Ron Book steered $22,500 to the cause, while energy giants FPL and Progress Energy gave $25,000 and $20,000 respectively. Charter Schools USA gave $10,000, while Pepsico gave $12,500 and phosphate giant, the Mosaic Company, kicked in $5,000.
Prior to being elected to the Senate in 2012, Galvano served in the state House until terming out in 2010. He won the Senate seat vacated by current Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett. Galvano recently came under fire by smart growth advocates in Manatee County for sponsoring a bill that would sharply reduce development oversight.
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