The race to occupy the Florida governor’s mansion is among the most expensive state-level contests in the country this year, with roughly $31.8 million spent through September 8 on 64,000 television ads.
But the campaign committees of incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic challenger and former Gov. Charlie Crist are responsible for less than 4 percent of that spending. That’s the lowest rate of candidate participation in any governor’s race in the country, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from media tracking service Kantar Media/CMAG.
The phenomenon stems in part from a new campaign finance law that the Florida Legislature passed last year. The change made it easier for independent political committees to raise unlimited sums of money. The committees can then use that money to coordinate directly with candidates on advertising or other spending. Few, if any, other states have such a liberal standard for allowing such coordinated efforts.