The Real Deal Miami

Soffer family, Stephen Ross among big donors to Florida Senate candidates

Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott are running against each other on Tuesday
By Katherine Kallergis | November 01, 2018 06:00PM

Bill Nelson and Rick Scott

Citadel founder and Palm Beach property owner Ken Griffin is the biggest donor to the New Republic PAC, giving a whopping $7.5 million since June to the committee backing Gov. Rick Scott’s bid for Senate.

The PAC has spent nearly $10 million on media buys over the past week, according to Florida Politics. Scott is running against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

In addition to Griffin and others – like members of the Collier family – donating to political action committees, a number of real estate developers and executives are lining Nelson and Scott’s campaign pockets, according to federal campaign finance databases. There’s Dan Tishman, CEO of Tishman Realty, who donated to Nelson, and Stephen Ross, chairman of the Related Companies, who gave to Scott. Members of the Soffer family have given to both candidates.

This year, Scott signed into law a business rent tax reduction to 5.7 percent from 5.8 percent, effective Jan. 1. The cut reduces the sales tax that tenants pay for their commercial leases.

The 2018-2019 state budget, which Scott signed in March, included nearly $124 million for affordable housing, according to the Florida Realtors. The budget also set aside up to $500,000 for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to combat unlicensed real estate activity. Additionally, the budget included more than $400 million for Everglades restoration, beach renourishment and springs protection, among other natural resources.