Kottkamp Back on Track
Around the State
Kottkamp’s fundraising lagged behind his two chief rivals for the Republican nomination, former Agency for Health Care Administration secretary Holly Benson and Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi. Kottkamp’s fundraising efforts also lagged behind the two Democratic candidates, Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, and Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach.
Three months later, grumbles about Kottkamp’s campaign have vanished as his campaign continues to pick up steam.
On Thursday, the Kottkamp campaign released its fundraising figures for the first quarter of 2010. The campaign brought in over $270,000 for the quarter, beating out Aronberg’s campaign by $10,000. The other candidates have not released their quarterly figures.
“Each quarter we raised more than we did the last time,” said Jill Gran, Kottkamp’s campaign manager. “People are seeing Kottkamp as a person and a candidate instead of just the lieutenant governor.”
That's an important benchmark. Kottkamp does not exactly hold the most high-profile office in Tallahassee, being overshadowed by the governor.
The lieutenant governor of Florida is, all things considered, a relatively new position. While the office existed briefly during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, the post was abolished in 1889 only to be revived under the constitution of 1968. While some admirable public servants have held the position since then, J.H. Williams and Bobby Brantley were hardly household names during their terms in office.
Kottkamp has been making the most of the position, using the bully pulpit of the office to increase his visibility. As the chairman of Space Florida, the state’s economic development agency for space issues, Kottkamp has been a very visible and severe critic of federal plans to slash NASA’s budget.
Arguing that the cuts will mean the loss of 7,000 jobs directly on the Space Coast and twice that number of indirect jobs, Kottkamp has aggressively spoken out against the measure, even challenging President Barack Obama to a debate on space exploration.
In an interview Thursday, Kottkamp said that he was doing the same things he had been doing during his previous three years. Kottkamp said that he was lucky with the timing.
Kottkamp has also been attempting to reintroduce himself to the party base. An interview with Newsmax served as an opportunity for Kottkamp to reconnect with Florida’s conservatives. In the interview, Kottkamp criticized the Obama administration’s handling of economic issues.
“The interview was very helpful,” said Kottkamp. “I was able to speak not for the administration but for Jeff Kottkamp.”
Kottkamp also said that his campaign has not lost the support of conservatives, despite Gov. Charlie Crist's support of the federal stimulus.
"Most people who know me know my conservative credentials,” Kottkamp said. During his service in the House of Representatives, Kottkamp was one of the leading social conservatives in the Legislature. Kottkamp was awarded the Florida Catholic Conference’s “Defender of Life” award and the Christian Coalition of Florida’s “Faith and Family” award.
Kottkamp plans to continue getting in front of as many people as possible, noting that he spoke to over 1,000 people this past week alone. “Every time I can get in front of people, whether as the lieutenant governor or as an attorney general candidate, I can tell them where I’m coming from,” he said.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or (850) 727-0859.