Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bean-Weinstein Race 1 of Priciest in History; Spending on 2-Person GOP Primary Eclipsed $4.5 Million

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bean-Weinstein Race 1 of Priciest in History; Spending on 2-Person GOP Primary Eclipsed $4.5 Million

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Dixon

TALLAHASSEE | It could be called the local television station stimulus act. Printers did pretty well, too.

The state Senate District 4 GOP primary between Aaron Bean and Mike Weinstein transformed into one of the area's toughest campaigns in recent memory. Though Bean ended up winning handily, it was the most expensive two-person race in Jacksonville history.

Money on both sides was used to fund television ads, mail pieces, robocalls and radio ads. You could not miss them if you tried.

Conservatively, spending on the race topped $4.5 million. That number is surpassed only by the $5.2 million spent in the four-man, 2009 special election to replace the late state Sen. Jim King.

The race between Bean and Weinstein became so expensive because it was seen as key to who takes over as Senate president for the term beginning in 2016.

"The campaign was taken over by a power struggle out in Tallahassee," said Weinstein as part of his concession speech. "The election was not about two candidates. It was about who had the most power and the most access to money out of Tallahassee."

Current Senate leadership spent upward of $2.5 million helping Bean, who spent an additional $448,167 from his campaign account. Outside groups also helped Weinstein in a big way.

A group called Floridians for Ethics and Truth in politics spent $813,046 supporting Weinstein. That's on top of the $392,204 Weinstein's campaign spent.

Another group, Committee to Protect Florida, funded mail pieces for Weinstein. It spent $1.8 million this election cycle; of that, roughly one-third was used to help Weinstein. (It was involved in several races, so it is hard to tell exactly how much money the group used to support Weinstein.)

According to the most recently filed campaign finance reports, Bean has $40,406 left in the bank, while the Weinstein campaign was left with $32,702. …

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