Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried’s political committee outdid fellow Cabinet members’ PACs during November, collecting nearly $273,000 mostly through contributions of $100 or less.
It was her strongest fundraising month this year, according to records kept by the Florida Division of Elections.
Fried is the only Democrat of the elected statewide officials who comprise the Florida Cabinet, as well as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
But her PAC contributions in some cases reflect Republican-leaning entities.
Fried’s Florida Consumers First collected two $25,000 donations – one from the Florida Prosperity Fund, a PAC controlled by the business lobby, Associated Industries of Florida; and the other from Publix Super Markets Inc. Florida Jobs PAC, an arm of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, gave $20,000, and the chamber kicked in $5,000 through its own PAC.
Last year, for example, a freshman Democratic lawmaker refused to attend an event hosted by Associated Industries of Florida, one of Tallahassee’s most powerful business and lobbying organizations — an unusual rebuff to the establishment.
In another case, Publix donated heavily to Republican Adam Putnam’s campaign for governor in the 2018 election. Putnam was then Florida’s agriculture commissioner.
Four regional chambers of commerce gave a combined $25,000.
Fried’s committee collected 11 contributions of $10,000, mostly from PACs including separate donations in that amount on Nov. 1 and Nov. 26 from Floridians United for Our Children’s Future – another Associated Industries affiliate – plus Florida Alliance for Better Government – run by Democratic political consultant Screven Watson – and Building a Better Florida, chaired by lobbyist Michael Corcoran, brother of Florida’s Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, a former state House Speaker.
Fourteen donations added up to $84,000 for Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ Treasure Florida committee. The largest was $25,000 from the FPF Fire PC, a creature of the Florida Professional Firefighters. Patronis serves as state fire marshal.
United Health Group PAC gave $20,000. Renew Financial Group LLC gave $10,000, and Brown & Brown Inc., an insurance brokerage, gave $15,000 in two installments.
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Friends of Ashley Moody collected more than $68,000. Publix Super Markets Inc. was her most generous donor, contributing $25,000. Next came Clear Choice Health Care and Florida Blue, at $10,000 each.