Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran won’t say if he’s running for governor next year but the speculation is that he will, especially with the way he’s raising money for his political action committee–Watchdog PAC.
Corcoran has enlisted the help of some of his more powerful House colleagues to bring in political donations.
There are eight people registered to solicit funds for the speaker’s Watchdog PAC, according to the state Division of Elections website. One is Corcoran. The other seven are House members who carry clout in the political process.
Included among them are Rep. Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami, the speaker pro tempore; Rep. Ray Rodriguez, R-Fort Myers, the House majority leader; and, Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Doral, the House appropriations chair.
Also registered as solicitors for the political committee are Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah; Rep. Michael Bileca, R-Miami; and, Rep. Manny Diaz, Jr., R-Hialeah Gardens.
The group appears to be doing well in their efforts.
In the past month alone, Corcoran’s Watchdog PAC raised $820,000. A competitive number compared to his two likely opponents in next year’s Republican primary.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s Florida Grown PC received about $1 million in July while Sen. Jack Latvala’s Florida Leadership Committee raised $387,000.
Asked about Corcoran’s use of House leaders to serve as solicitors for his PC, Latvala was critical of the speaker.
“If I run for governor it will be just like I have conducted myself in all my years of political life. On my own merits,” said Latvala. “I will have the support of many of my colleagues in the Legislature but I will lead my own fundraising efforts.”
A spokesperson for Corcoran did not respond to a request for a comment from the speaker.
In addition to soliciting funds for the Watchdog PAC, at least one of the solicitors is also a big donor.
Rep. Trujillo’s Conservative & Principled Leadership for Florida PC has donated $150,000 to Corcoran’s committee in the past two months.
Corcoran has also received more than $500,000 from the political committees of other House Republican members. Most of that coming from the PC’s of Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Clearwater, who is scheduled to be speaker in 2012 if Republicans continue to control the House.
Overall, Corcoran and his fellow members of the House whose job it is to solicit contributions have raised about $3 million. Putnam’s PC has raised $13.6 million, while Latvala’s PC has brought in $8.6 million.
Putnam is the only announced candidate in next year’s Republican gubernatorial primary. Latvala is expected to announce his candidacy next week. Corcoran says a decision as to whether he will run won’t come until after next year’s legislative session which will end in March.