NAPLES — A committee that helped get Gov. Rick Scott elected already has raised more than $1.3 million this year, getting an early start on a possible re-election war chest.
The committee raised $910,000 in contributions in the first three months of this year, a quarterly finance report filed with the state shows. Then on April 4, for a gubernatorial election that isn't until 2014, the Let's Get To Work PAC received another $438,350, topping $1.34 million in contributions this year, according to the PAC's website.
State Division of Elections records show only about 4 percent of donations in the PAC's first-quarter filing came from Naples, where Scott lives in an $8.9 million Gordon Drive waterfront mansion with his wife, Annette.
Three Naples donations totaled $40,000, including one by neighborhood friends who helped Scott start Naples Community Church.
"We are very supportive of Gov. Scott," said Karna Bodman, an author who contributed $5,000 with her investor husband, Richard. "He's trying to bring jobs to Florida to help the economy. We believe in the work he's doing.
"He tries to make time in his schedule every day to call other CEOs around the country to encourage them to move to Florida,'' she said. "He's trying to make inducements for business, to cut back on unnecessary regulations and paperwork."
Other Naples donors were Kermit Sutton, who served as president of Sutton Companies, a Naples investment firm, $25,000; and William Bindley, former CEO of Bindley Western Industries Inc., a pharmaceutical wholesale distributor, $10,000.
"It's just general support of the governor," Bindley said, declining further comment.
Two Lee County donors also helped boost the PAC's coffers: Theriac Rollup LLC of Fort Myers sent in $25,000 and WCI Communities LLC of Bonita Springs donated $2,000 as part of a Florida Panhandle fundraiser that gathered $50,000 for Scott's campaign.
"We're one of the larger employers in the area," WCI Communities spokeswoman Connie Boyd said of Perdido (Lost) Key. "The donation was kind of in the civic interest because they had invited Gov. Scott to the city and they got to speak to him about the city and he got to talk about what he was doing for Florida."
Scott's fundraisers also have attracted protests, such as one Thursday night at a Sarasota restaurant, where news reports show the Tea Party squared off against Occupy Sarasota, whose members blasted Scott on its Facebook page and carried signs such as "Pink Slip Rick."
The 37 donations received April 4 came from two PACs; businesses, including two Virginia manufacturers; and individual donors, among them Donald Trump. But most were from Florida, including two Naples men. William Spinelli, who owns Titan Custom Homes, donated $25,000 and Ned C. Lautenbach, a retired partner of a private equity investment firm in New York, gave $15,000.
John French, Let's Get Back To Work's chairman, and George Allen, its treasurer, couldn't be reached for comment about the early push for donations. The governor's press office also didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Scott has one of the lowest governor approval ratings, 38 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of seven states released in January, which showed 50 percent disapproved of his performance. Recently, the Republican Party began running TV ads praising Scott.
Lavigne Kirkpatrick, leader of the Naples Tea Party, which supports Scott, said she received a mailing marked from the campaign and PAC that asked for a minimum of $10,000.
"I don't think people are paying attention to it at this point," Kirkpatrick said of Scott's campaign, blaming the economy and more pressing November 2012 elections for the meager Naples donations to the PAC. "I think people are focusing on local elections and waiting to see what's happening with the presidential elections. And there are a lot of people who don't like to give money to a PAC."
The "Let's Get To Work!" website, letsgettowork.net, says it's supported by Scott and its mission is to "foster accountability in government by identifying and communicating about conservative public officials and candidates who have track records of creating jobs, balancing budgets and holding government accountable."
Occupy Naples member Cynthia Odierna scoffed at that.
"Let's Get To Work. Yeah, right," Odierna said, contending the PAC isn't creating jobs. "Give me a break, it's not happening. ... They get money because they make promises, but those things they promise are not in the best interests of the public."
Although a possible Scott re-election won't be until 2014, the PAC has stockpiled cash, only spending roughly $25,500 between January and March 31, mostly for consulting, catering and accounting costs and $753.49 to print invitations.
Several large donors represent the bulk of contributions, including some with stakes in state government issues, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, which donated $100,000. Now called Florida Blue, it's usually one of the state's largest political contributors and is involved in many state health-care issues.
United Group Underwriters Inc., an auto insurance affiliate, donated $100,000 on March 7. Six days later, with auto insurers complaining about fraud and increasing costs, Scott and legislative leaders pushed through changes in the state's personal-injury protection insurance system.
The PAC's largest donors this month were developer Trump, who sent in $50,000; The GEO Group Inc., a Boca Raton-based private prison operator, and Florida Optometric CCE of West Palm Beach, a statewide PAC, both of which donated $100,000.
From June 2010 to April 4, the PAC has collected more than $19 million, with the bulk paying for advertising and other expenses during Scott's successful election bid. The largest contributor was his wife, whose trust made five donations totaling $9.8 million before he was elected.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this article.