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HD 71 Candidate Will Robinson with his family
HD 71 Candidate Will Robinson with his family

Headlines

Will Robinson maintains hefty fundraising advantage in HD 71

Republican Will Robinson continues to hold a massive fundraising lead over Democrat Tracy Pratt in the open seat race for state House District 71.

Robinson, a Bradenton attorney, raked in $23,050 in the last half of September alone. In total, he’s pulled in $295,350 in monetary contributions since launching his campaign in February 2017.

In comparison, Pratt raised $12,012 in the same fundraising period for a total of $53,484 in monetary donations since she opened her account in March.

Pratt, also an attorney, has also chipped in a $20,000 as a campaign loan and boast $47,963 in cash on hand.

But Robinson still has $90,000 in loan money on top of contributions, so he sits pretty with $267,697 in cash with a month of election to go.

The big difference in funds undermines hopes of the district becoming a battleground in the state.

State Rep. Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican, represents the district today but could not run again because of term limits.

The voter make-up of the district closely resembles that of District 72, where Democrats pulled an upset in a special election in February.

In District 72, Democrats make up 33 percent of registered voters and Republicans 42 percent. In neighboring District 71, Democrats represent 32 percent of the electorate to Republicans’ 42 percent.

Considering Margaret Good won District 72 by 7 percent in a culturally similar terrain, that shows potential for Democrats to win 71 as well.

But a year-long head start on the campaign and deep family connections to the region appear to elevate Robinson as a candidate and a safe investment for donors.

The Republican Party of Florida also provided more than $5,000 assistance to Robinson in-kind. There’s not been the same type of state support by statewide Democrats for Pratt, even as they provided more than $20,000 in in-kind support to Good in the last two weeks of September.

But Pratt has maintained if she could bring her coffers to $75,000, a goal achieved in the last fundraising period including her loan, that she could compete in the district.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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