Democrat Fentrice Driskell looks like a true contender with more than $40,000 raised in her first month running for House District 63, a Tampa Bay swing district held by Republican Rep. Shawn Harrison.
“I truly appreciate the outpouring of community support from over 200 donors to our campaign who helped us raise $40,805.18 in just the first 22 days,” the Tampa attorney said in a press release. “We are focused on common-sense solutions to the challenges we face every day in Hillsborough County and throughout Florida, from investing in education and transportation to protecting our children with sensible gun laws.
“Everywhere we go, we hear from voters who are tired of Tallahassee politicians putting special interests ahead of the needs of our hardworking Florida families, small business owners, and seniors. We are working hard for our community every day, and I look forward to being their voice in the Legislature.”
Driskell, who filed for the seat on Feb. 6, received 252 contributions last month, including a dozen checks for the campaign maximum of $1,000.
Among the top donors were fellow attorneys Rose Bremprong, Nancy Faggianelli, James Kennedy III, Lu Pratts, Rebecca Tyler, April Walker and Gwynn Young. Premiere Eyecare CEO Lorna Taylor, insurance agent Jeffrey Chernoff, software engineer Michael Lyons, and retirees Ora Mosley and Crystal Whitescarver rounded out the $1,000 donor set.
Another 17 donors, including Driskell, checked in at the $500 level, while 150-plus contributions came from small-dollar donors giving $100 or less.
Spending measured in at $1,307 for the month and included an $800 payment to You Should Run for campaign branding, $250 to Tyrone Thurston for web development and $100 to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections for petition verification.
Driskell finished the month with $39,427 in her campaign account.
Harrison, who has held the seat since the 2014 elections, wasn’t able to raise any money last month due to the Legislature being in session, though he spent $1,389, including a $1,000 payment to Strategic Image Management for consulting work.
He’s raised $107,278 since filing for re-election and entered March with $81,410 in the bank.
HD 63 includes portions of northern Tampa, Lutz, Pebble Creek, Lake Magdalene, University, and Carrollwood.
Harrison served in the House from 2010 to 2012, when former Democratic Rep. Mark Danish beat him by about 700 votes to flip the newly redrawn HD 63 despite raising less than $20,000 for his campaign compared to nearly $300,000 for Harrison.
The following election, Harrison took the seat back with a 53-47 victory over Danish and in 2016 he he held on to the seat in a tough re-election battle against Tampa City Council member Lisa Montelione.