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Marco Rubio's former Florida donors shift financial support to Donald Trump

John Angelbeck of Ocala wanted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to succeed in his presidential bid and twice contributed $100 to Rubio's campaign. But after Rubio bowed out following a landslide defeat in Florida's March primary, Angelbeck shifted his allegiance — and money — to Donald Trump.

In June, he sent checks to Trump's campaign for $40 and $80. "Anything to beat Hillary Clinton," Angelbeck, 78, said Friday.

He is one of 640 Floridians who supported Rubio financially but have given to Trump since the primary, a Tampa Bay Times analysis of campaign finance data shows. That illustrates Trump's appeal among dedicated Republicans in the state.

By contrast, only 113 donors to former Gov. Jeb Bush have given to Trump since Bush withdrew from presidential contention in February.

Bush was an early and vocal critic of Trump on the campaign trail and drew sustained attacks from his nemesis, while Rubio tangled with Trump only later in the contest. Some Bush loyalists could share his concern that Trump remains unfit for the presidency, the data suggests.

In all, Trump has gotten about $204,000 from people who also gave to Rubio. From Bush donors: just $56,000.

A big exception is Charles Johnson of Palm Beach. The billionaire financier and part owner of the San Francisco Giants gave $100,000 in July to Great America PAC, a group supporting Trump. Previously, Johnson had given $1.5 million to a super PAC supporting Bush.

Nearly 40 people who gave to Rubio or Bush have contributed to Hillary Clinton since the Floridians dropped out. The list includes businesspeople and lobbyists who may have an interest beyond ideology, though there appear to be a handful of average voters in the mix.

Florida is consistently one of the biggest sources of campaign cash, and through July, the latest figures available, Clinton had pulled more than $13.3 million, or about 4 percent of her total collections, from the state. Florida was fourth behind California, New York and Texas.

Trump through July had received $4 million from Floridians, about 3 percent of his overall fundraising, which includes a significant amount of his own money.

In the primary, Trump boasted he did not need others' money, saying he would not be beholden to special interests. But he has quickly ramped up fundraising for the general election, tapping into small-dollar donations but also holding formal events.

On Wednesday, his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, attended a fundraiser in St. Petersburg that raised about $225,000.

Contact Alex Leary at aleary@tampabay.com. Follow @learyreports.

Top five Florida fundraising cities

Donald Trump

1. Naples, $211,000

2. Jacksonville, $127,000

3. Palm Beach, $117,000

4. Miami, $109,000

5. Boca Raton, $108,000

Hillary Clinton

1. Miami, $1.4 million

2. Miami Beach, $827,000

3. Tampa, $584,000

4. Boca Raton, $546,000

5. Fort Lauderdale, $545,000

Figures are through July, the latest available through the Federal Election Commission. Clinton and Trump have since accelerated fundraising in Florida.

Marco Rubio's former Florida donors shift financial support to Donald Trump 09/02/16 [Last modified: Monday, September 5, 2016 7:14pm]
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