Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis received a huge cash advantage thanks to state taxpayers, Politico reported.
On Monday, the Division of Elections reported that DeSantis led all candidates by pulling $3.5 million in public matching funds. The sum was larger than his entire 2018 campaign — and more than double the money his two Democratic rivals, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., received.
Florida's public matching program, which has been around for decades and is open to all candidates for governor as well as the three elected Cabinet positions, gave away nearly $10 million in taxpayer money to statewide candidates in 2018.
Several of the state's Republicans in the past, including former governors Rick Scott and Jeb Bush, have refused to accept taxpayer money to finance their campaigns. Some have even dubbed the practice as "welfare for politicians." In 2010, the GOP-controlled Legislature tried to scuttle the program repeatedly, but voters shot down a bid to remove it from the state constitution.
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