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Fundraising slow going for northeast Florida Congressmen

Both incumbents represent safe districts.

The two Congressmen representing the Jacksonville area each had quiet first quarters of fundraising in 2019.

However, history tells us they will be fine in the end; neither has faced a competitive general election yet.

U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, representing Florida’s 4th Congressional District which runs from Nassau to St. Johns County, raised $50,800 in Q1 from 29 donations, giving him $349,497 on hand.

Boeing and General Dynamics were among the defense industry political action committees backing Rutherford. Closer to home, Publix also anted up.

Rutherford spent more than he raised in the first quarter of 2019, with over $67,000 moving out. Of that sum, $37,500 went to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Republicans comprise 281,000, or 49.8 percent of CD4 voters. There are now 150,237 Democratic voters, or 26.6 percent of district voters. NPAs and third-party voters comprise the balance.

Though primaries have happened in the district (former U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw faced challenges as his career wrapped up, the likelihood is that no one serious challenges Rutherford in the primary.

Democrat Monica Paige DePaul has filed to run, but she has yet to file a finance report for this cycle.

In Florida’s 5th Congressional District, which runs west from Jacksonville, incumbent Democrat Al Lawson is tough to beat, as Corrine Brown and Alvin Brown learned in the last two primaries.

Lawson’s fundraising (just over $22,000 for the quarter) should be seen in that context. All but $485 of it came from political action committees, many of them linked to the insurance industry.

Despite his strong performance over the last two elections, the Tallahassee Democrat appears likely to face challenges in both the primary and the general elections.

Pharmacist Albert Chester of Jacksonville just opened his account with the FEC last month, and has yet to report fundraising.

The winner of the Democratic primary looks likely to face an unorthodox Republican opponent.

MacClenny bookseller Matthew Lusk, a QAnon-believing Republican, is thus far the only filed Republican in a district where more mainstream types don’t seem to try.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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