Gonzalez Republican Rebekah Bydlak has been the fundraising leader in the race for House District 1 for months, and newly filed campaign finance reports show she’s maintaining that lead in the twilight ahead of the primary race.
Between Aug. 4 and Aug. 10, Bydlak added another $5,310 to her campaign account, bringing her overall fundraising total to $183,170 through one year on the campaign trail. That gives her a better than threefold fundraising advantage over her chief Republican primary opponent, former state Rep. Mike Hill, who raised just $350 for the week and has reeled in about $55,000 since entering the race in September 2017.
Bydlak’s haul included a quartet of $1,000 contributions, the maximum allowable for a state legislative race. Those donors included C.W. Roberts Contracting, insurance company Pacific Life, political committee Florida ACRE and car dealership group JM Family Enterprises.
Another 10 contributions, ranging from $25 to $500, rounded out the report.
Expenditures far outweighed contributions thanks to $15,000 in media buys through Virginia-based Multi Media Services to keep Bydlak’s ads on the airwaves, a $6,785 direct mail campaign through Gainesville-based Data Targeting and $5,738 in spending on media production with Tallahassee-based Evolution Media.
Her campaign account had about $69,000 on hand on Aug. 10.
Hill’s report included just two contributions, a $250 check from Cantonment insurance agent David Cagle and a $100 check from Orlando resident David Chong, who didn’t list his occupation.
The campaign also spent more than $12,000 for the week, with the bulk of that cash heading to Pensacola-based Evergreen Marketing Solutions for another couple rounds of direct mailers.
That spending nearly exhausted Hill’s campaign account, leaving him with about $1,400 in the bank at the end of the reporting period.
Also seeking the Republican nomination is Lisa Doss of Milton, who has yet to add any contributions since her first report, which saw her pitch in enough cash to cover the qualifying fee to make the ballot.
A recent poll of the three-way primary found Bydlak was the pick for 40 percent of likely Republican primary voters, putting her 6 points ahead of Hill. Doss came in a distant third with 6 percent support while 13 percent said they weren’t aware of the candidates and remainder said they were unsure which of the three they would vote for.
The winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary will face either Vikki Garrett or Franscine Mathis, both Pensacola Democrats, in the Nov. 6 general election, though HD 1’s strong Republican lean virtually assures the Republican nominee will succeed term-limited Rep. Clay Ingram come Election Day.
HD 1 covers the bulk of Escambia County, including the communities of Century, Molino, Gonzalez, Ensley, Ferry Pass, Belleview and Brent. Ingram has held the seat since it was redrawn in 2012. Before that, he held the old HD 2.