Republican state Sen. Greg Steube is making the trek from his Sarasota home to Charlotte County for a May 16 fundraiser benefitting his bid for Florida’s 17th Congressional District.
Steube’s event will be held at the Laishley Crab House, 150 Laishley Court, in Punta Gorda from 5:30 pm to 7 pm. Those looking to attend can email an RSVP to Kelly Dowd via Kelly@ElectGregSteube.com.
The host committee at the top of invitation lists county Sheriff Bill Prummell, county Clerk of the Court Roger Eaton and Charlotte County Commissioners Ken Doherty, Joe Tiseo and Bill Truex. Laishley Crab House proprietor Bruce Laishley, who also a Rick Scott appointee to the Florida Southwestern State College board, made the list as well.
Steube, currently in his first term in the state Senate, was the first Republican to announce his bid for CD 17 after current U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney became the third of four Florida Republican members of congress to announce he would retire in 2018.
Stuebe was joined by Sarasota state Rep. Julio Gonzalez after the 2018 Legislative Session.
Both lawmakers qualified for the ballot last week, as did Port Charlotte Republican Bill Akins, Cape Coral Democrat April Freeman and Avon Park Democrat Bill Pollard. CD 17 is a solid Republican district.
Akins filed for the seat well before Rooney announced his retirement, but the Republican Primary looks to be a two-person race between Gonzalez and Steube.
Through March 31, Gonzalez led the money race with nearly $234,000 in contributions during the first few weeks of his campaign compared to $63,550 for Steube. Gonzalez’ total includes $150,000 in candidate loans, which is 10 times more than what Steube plunked down to kickstart his campaign.
Where Steube leads is in endorsements.
When he declared, his announcement listed off dozens of backers, including Senate President Joe Negron, Senate President Designate Bill Galvano, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, Naples Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo and Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel.
Gonzalez has landed a couple major backers of his own, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. Akins, oddly enough, has been endorsed by Star Trek Enterprise actor Gary Graham. But Steube’s list covers all corners of the massive district, not just Sarasota, which is home to only about a quarter of CD 17 voters.
The fundraiser invitation is below.