While they may be running against each other in 2016, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio are joining forces to host a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, reports The Tampa Bay Times
Bush and Rubio are scheduled to headline the Oct. 24 event at the Coral Gables Biltmore, where Bush has an office. The "suggested" donation per person begins at $2,500.
The money will be needed in the race between incumbent Gov. Scott and Republican-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist, which is proving to be among the most expensive gubernatorial races in the nation, according to the Center for Public Integrity
Through Sept. 8, CPI reports that approximately $31.8 million has been spent to run 64,000 television ads.
However, most of the spending has been done by outside groups — just 4 percent of the ads have been aired by either the Crist or Scott campaigns.
"Let's Get to Work," a political committee supporting Scott's re-election, and the Republican Party of Florida have spent a combined $20.6 million on ads, compared to just $176,300 by Scott's official campaign. Similarly, the Florida Democratic Party has spent $8.9 million on ads backing Crist or attacking Scott, compared to not quite $1 million spent by the Crist campaign, the study shows.
"The idea that there are firewalls between a candidate campaign and the outside entities is a fiction," Dan Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida, told the group.
For example, CPI reports that while Crist's political action committee has raised $17.7 million, it has not purchased any ads. Instead, the committee has given at least $9.7 million to the Florida Democratic Party, according to state filings. The party, in turn, is coordinating with Crist.
One reason for the level of ad spending is that the race is considered a "toss-up" by many analysts. An aggregation of the four September polls compiled by RealClearPolitics finds Crist
holds a two- and three-point margin in two polls, while other surveys give Scott a one and two-point lead.
A Sept. 12 poll of 1,000 Sunshine State voters conducted by Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), showed Scott would beat Crist by 47 percent to 41 percent, according to Political Fix Florida
The lead, however, falls to 44 percent to 41 percent when Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is included.
Some analysts believe that the race could be impacted by a new $1.6 million advertising campaign launched Monday by a group opposed to Amendment 2, which would legalize medicinal marijuana, Reuters reports
"Remember, even an uptick of 1 or 2 percent in a close race could make the difference," David Johnson of Strategic Vision in Atlanta, a Republican campaign planner, told Reuters.
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