The Florida Republican Party pulled in $3.5 million in the three months ending June 30, more than three times that collected by state Democrats during the span, new finance records show.
Health care companies, a private prison firm, and utilities were among the GOP’s biggest givers — cash that tracked some of the biggest issues of the 2011 legislative session, ongoing for most of the reporting period.
Still, a relatively modest $5,000 contribution from Jacksonville Greyhound Racing is noteworthy because of its timing. The check was posted by the party on May 6 — the same day the Orange Park dog track played a central role in the chaotic closing hours of the Legislature.
A duel between the House and Senate over a tax break for the track — a political favorite of Senate Rules Chairman John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine — forced the session to spill into overtime.
The House insisted on removing the tax break from what was considered must-pass legislation, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, later said he was “embarrassed” by the stand-off between the two chambers, which also drew veiled questions about the U.S. Senate contender’s leadership skills.
Other GOP contributions were more conventional — and cash-laden. U.S. Sugar Corp., donated $225,000, Nextera Energy, the parent company of Juno Beach-base Florida Power & Light, gave $250,000, and the Boca Raton-based Geo Group, which hopes to gain a big portion of the state’s plan to privatize prisons across 18 counties, including Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast, gave $100,000 to the Florida GOP.