Monday, January 29, 2007

Florida's Large Donor Base

Like the Orlando Sentinel, I've also noticed that a lot of big names are staking claim to donation dollars here in our state. I've been invited to at least three private fundraisers for two Democratic contenders and a bevvy of public ones. What I didn't know is this:

Florida is key to that effort because of its wealthy donor base. Former
state party chair Al Cardenas, a Romney fundraiser, said as much as 15
percent of a candidate's money often comes from Florida.

"It's going to be one of the closest primary contests we've had in a long
time. I can sense it," Cardenas said.

Republicans, especially, must organize early this year because the state
party is expected to hold a "straw poll" in Orlando in October, where activists
will vote on their favorite candidate. The event, which is nonbinding, draws
national attention and will require about $1 million worth of organizing per
candidate, said GOP strategist Tre Evers of Orlando, who is neutral in the

That 15 percent figure just has to be wrong for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Florida has fewer corporate headquarters than several top-ten-population states. Then, of course, it could really just be Republicans and that might make sense. After all, almost every small business owner where I live holds fundraisers to donate to the "Republican of your choice." (I'm in a very, very red county.)

Orlando's straw poll has become a pretty big deal in the state and has gained a bit of national stature because of Mel Martinez but I don't think a state with a per capita income of $33,219 (ranks 24th) is really generating that much money.

I know there's a great divide between the have and have-nots but, in Florida, our haves are kind of like the middle class of the wealthy.