The Miami New Times has a new investigation showing that a right-wing group – funded by big-money Republican Political Action Committees and Florida Power & Light – has formed to mimic a progressive group and is running online attacks against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.
The new right-wing group has taken the name “Florida Strong,” which has been used by a Democratic-leaning group for years.
The director of the original “Florida Strong” group told the New Times that “she found out about the new, right-leaning PAC from a friend, who saw the anti-Gillum ads on Facebook and was confused by their rightward slant.
‘She said that the messaging seemed way off-base for Florida Strong, so she sent me a screenshot…Imagine my shock when I saw our name next to anti-Gillum ads…’”
The New Times reports:
“So who is paying for these attacks? According to state campaign-finance records, the new Florida Strong political action committee’s funding comes from a small cadre of right-wing donors, including $15,000 from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, $9,000 from a group called “Sunshine State Conservatives,” $4,000 from another PAC called the “Responsible Leadership Committee,” $25,000 from a pro-Trump PAC called the “Freedom First Committee,” and a whopping $100,000 donation on March 1 from former Sarasota state legislator Patrick K. Neal, who is now a major real-estate developer around Florida.
But perhaps the most striking donation came in the form of a $25,000 check on September 28 from Florida’s largest power company — Florida Power & Light, one of Florida’s four state-regulated electricity monopolies.
FPL representatives did not respond to a message from New Times yesterday evening. But the timing of FPL’s donation — long after the August primary, as Gillum continued to lead in the polls — suggests that the company is pumping more money into the political race to try to back Ron DeSantis into the governorship.”