In a ruling from the bench on July 14, 2010, US District Judge Robert Hinkle rejected gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott's attack on a portion of Florida's campaign finance law. The Republican candidate, who has already spent at least $21 million on his largely self-funded campaign, challenged a provision that provides a candidate's opponents with a dollar-for-dollar match of the candidate's spending in excess of a $24.9 million cap. Mr. Scott did not challenge another portion of the campaign finance law that provides candidates who accept public funding with matching funds of up to $250 for each contribution.
Mr. Scott argued that the so-called “Millionaire's Tax” impairs his First Amendment rights. Judge Hinkle balanced the First Amendment issue against the purpose of the Florida public finance system, which he described as preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption. He distinguished the Florida situation from an Arizona campaign finance law that was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court and a Connecticut law that was overturned at the circuit court level on the basis that those laws were not part of a larger public finance scheme.
Mr. Scott's attorney said that the candidate planned to press his case quickly with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. Scott has a funding advantage over his Republican primary opponent, Attorney General Bill McCollum. According to information filed by Mr. McCollum's campaign, the attorney general has raised a total of $4.7 million and had only $800,000 in the bank as of July 10.
In the race for the U.S. Senate, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R-Miami) reported raising $4.5 million during the quarter ending on June 30. Mr. Rubio's second quarter fundraising represented the greatest amount raised in one quarter by any federal candidate in the current election cycle. The previous record was $4.3 million, raised by Gov. Crist in 2009 in his first quarter of fundraising as a Republican. More recently, Gov. Crist raised $1.1 million in the first quarter of 2010 and $1.8 million in the second quarter. He announced that he was leaving the Republican Party and running without party affiliation on April 29, 2010.
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-17th Congressional District), one of the Democratic candidates for the open Senate seat, reported raising $1 million in the second quarter of 2010. His primary opponent, businessman Jeff Greene, reported second quarter expenditures of $5.8 million and contributions of $3,036.