The likely face-off between incumbent and former Florida governors is attracting a lot of out-of-state contributions.
Donors outside of Florida have so far pumped $15 million into the campaigns and related committees supporting Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his Republican-turned-Democrat opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, accounting for 17 percent of the money so far raised by the two men. The governor's race four years ago brought in 12 percent in out-of-state donations for the top three candidates.
Scott and Crist face primary challengers on Tuesday but have dominated polls and expect to face each other in the general election. The race is considered a toss-up, fueling national interest.
"Everything revolves around the fundamental competitive nature of the race," said Brecht Heuchan, a longtime GOP consultant who started Contribution Link, which analyzes campaign donations and other political data, and which has been helping Scott. "That fact alone motivates the coalitions of donors on each side."
The Tampa Tribune and Scripps report that the Republican Governors Association has spent $6 million in Florida. Its counterpart organization, the Democratic Governors Association, has spent $2.2 million in Florida, $1.5 million of it going directly to Crist. Both are expected to pump millions more into the race.
Scott has gotten donations from 7,360 people. Crist's campaign counts more than 44,000 contributors and stresses its high number of small-dollar donors.
"We've received donations from tens of thousands of Americans, and the vast majority of those donations are under $100," said Brendan Gilfillan, a Crist spokesman. "Unlike Rick Scott, Charlie doesn't focus on who's donating when he makes decisions."
Greg Blair, a spokesman for the Scott campaign, attributed the spike in out-of-state money to one person: President Barack Obama.
"Charlie Crist can't talk about his record and has failed to outline any vision, so President Obama has called in the cavalry from Washington and California to bail out Charlie's campaign," he said.