Storms' financial report is dotted with more than a dozen State Farm agents from
Naples to Tampa who gave varying amounts, totaling nearly $9,000 for
insurance interests. While it is very common to see big insurance
companies give lots to state candidates, it is far less common to see
the agencies themselves line up in lock-step. One person familiar with
those contributions, who requested anonymity, said agents were
arm-twisted by a company official to give to the controversial county
State Farm supports Alexander,
who recruited Storms to run and who is locked in a struggle to become
president of the Senate in 2010. The Tampa Tribune, for
instance, fingered State Farm as being behind a direct mail attack
against the Senate campaign opponent of Rep. Kim Berfield, another
possible future senator that Alexander wants in his camp.
Another Alexander ally from the citrus industry, the Collier family, also weighed in with thousands for the Storms campaign. Barron Collier III (his family name graces the county to the south of us, around Naples) and the family's CEO, Paul Marinelli, are both on her report. In addition to vast acreage and numerous suburban developments, the Collier family is big in citrus.
While Storms lags opponent Sandy Murmanâs $339,000 total raised, she
did have a better first quarter than her Republican rival. And her
total was more than any of her previous county commission campaigns, so
anyone thinking that Storms is getting out of the race or will fall
flat on her face needs to rethink those assessments.
You can get a detailed list of Stormsâ contributors here.
(Disclosure: As a political consultant, I ran three campaigns against Storms and ran one campaign for Murman.)