Sarasota Republican Melissa Howard raised more than $20,000 last month for her bid to replace exiting Rep. Joe Gruters in House District 73.
Howard raised $10,550 through her campaign account and raised another $10,000 through her affiliated political committee, Citizens for Transparency in Government.
The campaign haul came in via 26 contributions, including five for the maximum allowable donation of $1,000. Those donors included Johnny Budslick, Lisa Budslick, Mary Gratehouse and Pamela Hughes, all of whom made the host committee for Howard’s upcoming fundraiser in Sarasota.
The committee money came in through two $5,000 contributions, one apiece from Myakka City agribusiness man John Falkner and Sarasota retiree James Frauenberg.
The two accounts spent a combined $14,192 last month, including more than $8,500 in payments to Clearwater-based Direct Mail Systems and $1,325 to the Coates Law Firm for legal services. Howard started June with more than $130,000 at the ready, including $100,000 in loans she used to kickstart her campaign in April.
Howard faces fellow Republican Tommy Gregory in the Aug. 28 Republican Primary.
HD 73 is open due to current Gruters’ decision to run for the Senate seat currently held by Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube, who is running for Congress. Gruters is Howard’s campaign treasurer.
Democrat Liv Coleman is also running for the seat, though Gruters’ replacement is likely to come out of the Republican Primary — GOP voters make up nearly half of the HD 73 electorate compared to a 25 percent share for Democrats.
Gregory had not filed his May reports as of Monday afternoon, though as of April 30 he had $85,000 banked in his political committee, Friends of Tommy Gregory, and another $56,000 in the bank for his campaign account. His campaign total includes $25,000 in self-funding.