Just before and after its big win at the polls in November, the Florida Republican Party collected big and spent even bigger: $9.4 million.
New campaign-finance reports show the party spared little expense on consultants, travel and the nearly $3 million inauguration of new Gov. Rick Scott.
It was all worth it, said outgoing party Chairman John Thrasher.
``The point of a political party is to win elections -- and that's what we did,'' said Thrasher, a state senator from St. Augustine. ``I'm retiring as party chair in a few days undefeated.''
The Florida Democratic Party, smashed at the polls this last election, had not reported its contributions and expenditures as of press time.
The biggest recipient of all the Republican cash: Majority Strategies, a Ponte Vedra Beach-based direct-mail and consulting firm that pulled in almost $2.7 million from Oct. 29 through Dec. 31, 2010.
Hargrove Inc., the Maryland event company earned the second highest amount in the fourth quarter -- $602,000 -- for staging Scott's inaugural. OnMessage Inc., a media company employed by Scott, reaped $357,000 and M.A.C Research -- a company controlled by Scott's newly named chief policy advisor Mary Ann Carter -- pulled in $175,000 for consulting services. Thrasher said he wasn't sure what Carter's company did for the money, but Scott's inaugural committee spokeswoman, Erin Isaac, said the payments accounted for salary, meals, projects, lodging and subcontractor work.
The Wounded Warriors project for veterans was given $160,000, following Scott's pledge to donate.
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