December 29, 2017 | originally posted on Florida Politics by Drew Wilson
Lawmakers will have a week to fundraise before the Legislative Session kicks off and Rep. Matt Caldwell, who is running for Agriculture Commissioner, plans to make the most of it.
The Lehigh Acres Republican is holding a fundraiser on Jan. 3 in Pensacola followed by another in Branford on Jan. 5.
The host committee for the Pensacola event includes fellow Reps. Clay Ingram and Jayer Williamson, as well as a number of other movers and shakers from the Panhandle.
Ingram and Williamson were among the half-dozen Panhandle lawmakers to endorse Caldwell for the cabinet post over the summer. He’s since added block endorsements from his House colleagues representing Southwest Florida, Northeast Florida and South Florida.
While you won’t find any lawmakers on the event invite for the Branford event, the host committee is long and influential.
The Jan. 3 fundraiser will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Fish House, 600 South Barracks Street in Pensacola. The Branford event will be held Jan. 5 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Greco Castro Plantation, 2399 NE County Road 138.
Caldwell is one of three Republicans vying to replace Putnam, who is termed-out as Ag Commissioner and is running for the GOP nomination for Governor. He faces Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley and former state Rep. Baxter Troutman.
Troutman leads the pack with nearly $2.5 million on hand in his campaign account, nearly all of it his own money, with another $51,000 in a political committee. Still, Grimsley and Caldwell have both had fundraising success without dipping into their own bank accounts.
Through November, Grimsley had raised just over $2 million between her campaign and committee, Saving Florida’s Heartland, and had $932,077 cash on hand between the two accounts.
Caldwell has raised less on the whole – about $1.5 million – though he has a little over $1 million on hand between his campaign account and committee, Friends of Matt Caldwell.