Still reeling from a dismal second quarter of fundraising, the Republican Party of Florida is vowing to regain momentum and bring in big cash for the state GOP from here on out.
To put it lightly, the second quarter numbers were grim for the RPOF -- recently-posted campaign finance reports showed the party only brought in $338,000 for the second part of the year, the lowest amount raised in over 20 years.
RPOF assistant treasurer Evan Power said he was aware of the party’s poor performance since he has access to all the contribution records. The cycle, he said, was simply not good.
“I knew the reality of where we were in the cycle,” he said. "This quarter was a complicated one.”
RPOF officials attributed the low numbers to a multitude of reasons. One of the main problems, party officials told Sunshine State News, is that Florida lawmakers were stuck in Tallahassee for the state’s 60-day legislative session, in which no state legislators can fundraise for themselves or for the party.
“Part of it’s timing, part of it is the mood of the electorate,” Power said.
Further impeding the fundraising progress of the party, Power explained, was the fact that the RPOF didn’t host as many events this quarter.
Party-organized events are prime locations to raise money, spread the word of the party’s mission and gear up for another round of campaigns come 2018.
Power didn’t tell SSN how many events the party had hosted during the second quarter, but said the remainder of the year’s schedule looks tight and party officials are ready to batten down the hatches.
“We have events on the books that we need to raise money,” Power said, noting the party’s annual statesman dinner in November -- the fourth quarter of the year.
Elected officials have answered the party’s cry for help, writing out checks for thousands of dollars to aide the party’s beleaguered finance report.
Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, was one of the first legislators to pitch in for the party, vowing to write a check for $25,000 to the RPOF for the third and fourth quarters of the year.
“What are we without a party to stand behind us? @TheFLGOP has been important part of my life since 1975,” Latvala wrote Wednesday afternoon. “It's time for Republican leaders to put aside our own egos and ambitions and remember where we all started out. [I] challenge others to do same.”
Latvala wasn’t the only one who stepped up to the plate to help out the RPOF -- this quarter, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, also donated $25,000 to the party, but so far neither have announced plans to continue the contributions.
Some party members and former RPOF officials were quick to criticize the numbers.
“Under your leadership everyone is looking out for themselves,” wrote Leslie Dougher, former RPOF chair who lost out on re-election against Ingoglia in 2015. “Who is looking out for the Republican Party of Florida?”
The Florida Democratic Party, meanwhile, reported it raised $1.67 million during the second quarter, bringing their yearly total to $3.5 million.
Chairman Blaise Ingoglia has so far been silent on how the RPOF will recover. Ingoglia did not return multiple requests for comment.
Power, however, said he expected the third quarter numbers to be much more promising than the previous quarter’s.
“We have to do better on the numbers side,” he said. “We have events on the books that we need to raise money. We have a lot of support from our elected officials. Things are going in the right direction.”