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Kayser Enneking

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Kayser Enneking bounces back in SD 8 money race

Gainesville Democrat Kayser Enneking bested Republican Sen. Keith Perry for the second reporting cycle in a row in the race for Alachua County-based Senate District 8.

Enneking, a physician, raked in nearly $51,000 in hard money during the first two weeks of September, replenishing her campaign account after a primary battle that became costly in the final weeks of August.

The weekly reports covering the same stretch for her affiliated political committee, Florida Knows Excellence, saw it tack on another $33,500. Adding in the $84,000 in receipts between Sept. 1 and Sept. 14 brings Enneking’s overall fundraising total to $644,000.

Donors of note include Fort Lauderdale Sen. Gary Farmer, who provided another $25,000 in support via his Floridians for Ethics, Accountability and Responsibility committee and $2,500 from Avera & Smith, the law firm of 2016 SD 8 Democratic nominee Rod Smith, a former state Senator and FDP chair.

Spending far outstripped fundraising, however, with a slate of broadcast, cable and digital media buys eating away $160,000 in campaign funds. Enneking also funneled another $50,000 in committee cash to the Sen. Audrey Gibson-chaired Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

The two accounts had a combined $130,000 banked on Sept. 14.

Perry’s early September haul measured in at $53,350, with $29,350 in receipts heading to his campaign account and the remaining $24,000 collected through his political committee, Building a Prosperous Florida.

His donor sheet included a pair of $10,000 checks from a political committee tied to state Rep. Ben Albritton, who is set to cruise in his bid to succeed Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley in SD 26. Also checking in was Working Together For Florida PAC, the fundraising arm of Naples Sen. Kathleen Passidomo.

Perry spent about $30,000 during the two-week reporting period, with the bulk of those funds paying for campaign staffers and a handful of event sponsorships.

SD 8 covers all of Alachua and Putnam counties as well as the northern half of Marion County. It is one of a handful of districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the Senate map was redrawn ahead of the 2016 elections.

Despite Democrats holding an 8-point lead in voter registrations in the redrawn district, Perry scored a comfortable victory two years ago as the seat was narrowly carried by President Donald Trump.

A recent poll of the race found Perry up 49-38 percent over Enneking, though much of that gap was attributable to her comparatively weak showing among the Democratic base, which is expected to improve before the Nov. 6 general election.

That poll also found former Gainesville City Commissioner Charles Goston pulling 5 percent support for his unaffiliated run despite his lack of on-the-ground campaigning for the job.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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