Democrat Margaret Good took a firm fundraising lead in the House District 72 race just days ahead of Tuesday’s special election for the Sarasota-based seat.
Good raised $257,058 for her campaign account during the reporting period running from Jan. 5 through Feb. 8, more than doubling her fundraising during the first three months of her campaign. The total includes $61,000 in contributions from the Florida Democratic Party.
The Siesta Key attorney also tacked on another $113,400 for her political committee, New Day Florida, last month, giving her a combined total of about $660,000 raised for the special election to replace Alex Miller, a Republican who resigned less than a year into her first term.
Good spent loads of money down the stretch as well – nearly $329,000 campaign dollars and another $133,000 in committee cash – leaving her with just shy of $103,000 on hand ahead of the Feb. 13 special general election.
Her chief opponent, Republican James Buchanan, raised $70,690 through his campaign account and chipped in $33,625 of his own money for a combined $104,315 during the reporting period.
Buchanan, the son of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, spent $186,846 over the five-week stretch leaving him with about $43,000 to spend in the final days of the campaign.
Buchanan had led in fundraising throughout the campaign until Good dropped her new report.
The runup to Election Day was also lucrative for Libertarian Alison Foxall, who posted her best report to date with $15,643 raised and $16,093 spent. The report accounts for more than half of the $30,304 she’s raised since filing.
Foxall had $3,133 left in her campaign account on Feb. 8.
Both major party candidates also received substantial in-kind support over the past month.
Buchanan got $88,153 in assistance, mainly in the from of staffing paid for by the Republican Party of Florida, though his wife, Lea Mei, and direct-mail advertiser John Hamlin each chipped in $1,000 for advertising, while Cafe Baci provided $1,000 worth of food and beverages for an event.
Good took in $53,192 in non-monetary support, including nearly $40,000 in staff costs and $7,000 for polling paid for by FDP. Catering and office space from Sarasota attorney Theodore Eastmoore made up the balance.
Buchanan is the favorite heading into Election Day, but only slightly.
A recent poll showed him with a 3-point lead over Good, 49-46, but that edge falls well within the margin of error. Foxall had about 3 percent support in that poll, while the remainder said they were unsure.
The district voted plus-5 for Donald Trump in 2016.