2018 election Archives - Page 3 of 135 - Florida Politics

Giffords group endorses Stephanie Murphy, Ted Deutch, Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Giffords, the national gun safety organization co-founded by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, announced its endorsement Thursday of the re-election bids of Democratic U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Stephanie Murphy, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The group also endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings, though Demings was re-elected in 2018, defeating her only opponent in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary.

The organization, founded by the former Arizona congresswoman shot in 2011 during an assassination-turned-mass-shooting, and her husband, retired NASA astronaut and retired Navy Captain Mark Kelly, was created to support candidates who support gun law reforms.

“America experienced three of the deadliest mass shootings in modern history in just the past year. Over 38,000 people in our country were killed by a gun. Florida has not been immune to this deadly crisis: somebody is killed by a gun in Florida every three hours,” Giffords stated in a news release issued by her organization. “Despite this devastating reality, the gun lobby has used its cash and influence to stifle any attempts to pass laws on Capitol Hill to make our schools, streets, and communities safer.

“The members of Congress we are endorsing today acknowledge the devastating toll of our nation’s gun violence crisis, and they are working to combat it. Their leadership will be critical for our next victories in Congress to save lives and prevent future tragedies,” she added.

The endorsement announcement noted that Demings and Murphy both have strong ties to the Orange County community response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando; and Deutch and Wasserman Schultz with the Broward County community response to the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In the Nov. 6 election, Murphy faces Republican state Rep. Mike Miller in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, representing much of central Orange County and all of Seminole County

Deutch faces Republican Nicolas Kimaz in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District in northern Broward County.

Wasserman Schultz faces Republican Joe Kaufman and a couple of independent candidates, including Tim Canova, her Democratic primary nemesis in 2016, in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District in central Broward County.

Jeff Brandes TV ad

Jeff Brandes recalls ‘Right to Try’ law in new campaign ad

St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes released a new ad Thursday touting his successful legislative effort to give patients more options in to fight terminal diseases.

The new ad, titled “Right to Try,” features St. Petersburg osteopathic physician Rob Proietto speaking about Brandes’ role in passing a 2015 bill that authorized the use of experimental treatments and medications for terminally ill patients.

Though Gov. Rick Scott signed the House version of the bill into law, Brandes was instrumental in shepherding the Senate companion, SB 1052, through its committee stops.

“For a long time, patients fighting a life-threatening illness were also fighting a system that wouldn’t give them a chance,” Proietto says in the ad. “That’s why Jeff Brandes passed Florida’s ‘Right to Try’ law. Now, eligible patients with a serious medical condition can get access to experimental drugs or clinical trials.

“Critically ill patients have the right to try because Jeff Brandes is keeping hope alive,” Proietto concludes.

A narrator then says, “Giving patients the right to choose the treatment they need. Jeff Brandes for state Senate.”

Specifically, the “Right to Try” law allows dying patients to access experimental medical treatments that have passed a Phase One Clinical Trial but have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Floridians deserve to have access to medical treatments that could extend or improve the quality of their lives,” Brandes said of the proposal in 2015. “It often takes three years or longer for medications to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. We can save lives by speeding up access to these treatments for patients who don’t have other options available, and I look forward to strong bipartisan support of this legislation.”

The new ad was paid for by Brandes’ campaign account, though as of Thursday afternoon no details of the media buy backing it up had been posted by the Federal Communications Commission.

Brandes, a lifelong resident of St. Pete, is running for his final term in the Florida Senate. He was first elected to the Senate in 2012, but due to redistricting has been forced to run for re-election every two years since taking office. He was also a member of the Florida House from 2010 through 2012.

This year, he faces Democratic challenger Lindsay Cross, an environmental scientist who recently resigned as executive director of the Florida Wildlife Corridor to run for the SD 24 seat. Cross was recruited after the Florida Democratic Party’s first pick, Carrie Pilon, withdrew due to the unexpected health problems of a close family member.

Since entering the race, Cross has failed to gain traction in fundraising, have raised just $58,588 through the end of last month with $54,121 in the bank.

By comparison, Brandes has raised $822,170 in hard money, including $300,000 in self-funding, and had $525,000 in his campaign account on Aug. 31. He also had more than $375,000 at his disposal in his affiliated political committee, Liberty Florida, on Sept. 7.

SD 24 covers most of southern Pinellas County except for the tip of the peninsula, which is included in neighboring SD 19. According to the most recent bookclosing report published by the Florida Division of Elections, Republicans hold a 4-point advantage in voter registrations within the district, which voted in favor of Barack Obama twice before going plus-7 for Donald Trump in 2016.

A recent poll of the race showed Brandes with a 39-19 percent lead over Cross with 42 percent of those polled unsure of who they’ll vote for come Election Day.

Brades’ ad is below.

Pam Dirschka calls out Rene Plasencia over skipping HD 50 forum

Democrat Pam Dirschka is calling out her opponent, Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia, for not committing to a candidates’ forum Monday and charging that he’s been avoiding face-to-face encounters with her.

Plasencia insisted he’s ready, but appropriate forums haven’t happened yet.

“He’s a no-show,” Dirschka said Thursday.

“I want a forum that is inside our district, where people who actually have an opportunity to vote for us can attend,” Plasencia responded.

The Monday forum was set for Cocoa, outside of House District 50. Plasencia said he told organizers he would be willing to participate if the forum were moved to a location inside HD 50.

Hosting the forum is the League of Women Voters, Florida Today, and Eastern Florida State College. It is set for 7 p.m. at Eastern Flordia State College’s Simpkins Center in Cocoa.

HD 50 covers eastern Orange County and northwest Brevard County, including Titusville. Cocoa is about six or seven miles outside the district boundaries, and up to 25 miles away from the farthest corners of HD 50.

Dirschka said Plasencia has been absent from other forums, and she cited two events that took place before the Aug. 28 primary, in which Plasencia was battling with a Republican challenger.

“The [League of Women Voters] debate was originally scheduled for September 12, but incumbent Republican State Representative Rene Plasencia declined to participate, as he has for all three scheduled forums,” her campaign charged in a news release issued Thursday. “Dirschka thinks the public deserves the opportunity to understand candidates’ positions on issues.”

However, Plasencia said he is aware of only one other event to which both candidates had been invited, at a mall in Titusville, and he said that he attended that one.

Shawn Harrison

Frank Reddick crosses the aisle to back Shawn Harrison’s re-election bid in HD 63

Tampa City Council Chairman Frank Reddick has endorsed state Rep. Shawn Harrison in his re-election bid for Hillsborough County’s House District 63.

Tampa City Councilors are chosen in non-partisan elections, though Reddick is a Democrat and Harrison is a Republican. HD 63 is a swing seat that Harrison has held for three non-consecutive terms. In 2018, he faces Democratic attorney Fentrice Driskell.

“I have known and worked along-side Shawn Harrison for 12 years. Representative Harrison is a true bipartisan leader. He doesn’t just talk the talk. When Shawn was Chairman Pro-Tem of the Tampa City Council, he supported my efforts to make East Tampa a stronger community. When we asked for help to stop the evictions from Tampa Park Apartments, Shawn contacted HUD on our behalf and together we were successful,” Reddick said.

“He was the only Republican in the State to support my efforts for a special session on Stand your Ground. And when needy families had an opportunity for expanded Medicaid, Shawn once again crossed party lines to support the people back home. As a Representative in Tallahassee, he has shown the courage to stand up for what’s right for his constituents, even if it meant voting against his party,” he continued.

“For decades, Shawn has proven to not only me, but the thousands of constituents he’s represented over the years, that he is willing to tackle big problems and fight for what is right and fair for our community, regardless of political party,” Reddick said.

“Shawn Harrison fought to make sure our children have access to better schools and a brighter future with his support of Hope Scholarships. And Shawn even went so far as to donate hundreds of family books to the kids at Kimbell Elementary with his ‘Read Little Cougars’ challenge. Representative Harrison is there for us when we need him most and I’m excited to endorse him and continue my work with him to move our community forward and create better opportunities for all,” Reddick concluded.

Harrison was grateful for the resounding endorsement from the influential Democrat and former colleague.

“Chairman Reddick is a friend and former colleague on the Tampa City Council. He is one of the true statesmen of our region. He has been a leading voice in our community for decades. I welcome the chance to support Frank whenever I can, and I’m truly humbled to have his support,” Harrison said.

This isn’t the first time Reddick has endorsed Harrison in a state House election. Two years ago, when the Tampa Republican was up against Tampa City Councilor Lisa Montelione, Reddick was in Harrison’s corner. Other endorsements for Harrison have come in from the Florida Realtors, the Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Associated Industries of Florida.

To date, Harrison has raised $180,511 in hard money and has $106,890 of that cash in the bank. He also has another $130,410 on hand in his affiliated political committee, Committee for an Innovative Florida, for a total war chest of $237,300 at the end of August.

Driskell, meanwhile, has raised $146,650 for her campaign account and had $100,525 left to spend on Aug. 31. Her backers include Ruth’s List, an organization that helps Democratic women get elected.

HD 63 covers part of Hillsborough County, including portions of northern Tampa and the communities of Lutz, Pebble Creek, Lake Magdalene and Carrollwood. Democrats make up about 39 percent of the swing seat’s electorate, while Republicans hold a 32 percent share.

Harrison served in the House from 2010 to 2012, when former Democratic Rep. Mark Danish beat him by about 700 votes to flip the newly redrawn HD 63 despite raising less than $20,000 for his campaign compared to nearly $300,000 for Harrison.

Harrison reclaimed the seat in the 2014 cycle with a 5-point win over Danish, and in 2016 he emerged victorious in a tough re-election battle over Montelione. His sub 2-point victory came as Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the seat by double digits.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

New Rick Scott ad: ‘I’ll give ’em hell up in Washington’

Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican U.S. Senate nominee, is launching a new television and internet ad in which he declares Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is complicit in Washington corruption and that Scott will “give ’em Hell in Washington.”

The 30-second spot, “Give ‘Em Hell“, has mostly simple video. Most of it is Scott speaking into the camera while text highlights some of his comments, though there is a spell where viewers get to see computer animation of Nelson aging over 40 years.

“Washington has its own brand of corruption. Politicians who stay politicians forever. Politicians who make promises they never intend to keep – just so they can get money and votes. After 40 years in Washington, that’s the story of Bill Nelson,” Scott states. “A vote for Nelson is a vote for government waste and debt, higher taxes, chaos at the border and weakness abroad. Nelson can’t change Washington. He IS Washington. I’m Rick Scott, I’ll give ‘em hell up in Washington.”

Those charges were almost immediately rebutted by the Nelson campaign, which issued the following statement after the ad dropped:

“The only person with a ‘brand of corruption’ in the U.S. Senate race in Florida is Rick Scott. Not only has he done a poor job as governor, he’s greatly enriched himself while in office,” said Dan McLaughlin, a spokesman for Nelson’s campaign. “If Mr. Scott wants to talk about a ‘brand of corruption,’ let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about his massive Medicare fraud scheme. Let’s talk about his seemingly well-timed and lucrative financial investments in state projects that he’s hidden from the public. Let’s talk about some of his political donors who are making small fortunes off state projects he’s approved. Let’s talk about a politician with a ‘brand of corruption.'”

Scott’s newest volley comes after Nelson released his own duo of attack ads. The first is a Spanish-language ad calling Scott an “amigo” to President Donald Trump while the second is an English-language ad slamming the two-term governor’s record on the environment.

“Tell me who you hang out with, and I will tell you who you are. Rick Scott and Donald Trump are pals,” a translation of the ad reads.

The Scott vs. Nelson head-to-head is one of the most-watched U.S. Senate battles in the nation as national Democrats are trying to prevent the Republican’s current 50-49 majority in the chamber from increasing — a tall order considering 23 of the 33 U.S. Senate seats up for grabs this year are held by Democrats, and 10 of those seats, Nelson’s included, are in states won by Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

As with the two prior elections in Scott’s political career, the Senate race is shaping up to be a close one. A recent survey from St. Pete Polls — the most accurate pollster in Florida’s primary elections — shows the two men deadlocked with 47 percent support apiece with the remainder undecided.

Earlier this week, Nelson and Scott agreed to face each other in an Oct. 2 debate that will be broadcast in the Miami, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm media markets.

Jennifer Webb passes Ray Blacklidge in total fundraising, cash on hand

With her end-of-August campaign finance report, St. Petersburg Democrat Jennifer Webb has officially surpassed Madeira Beach Republican Ray Blacklidge in campaign fundraising.

Webb and Blacklidge are vying for the House District 69 seat currently held by state Rep. Kathleen Peters, who is now the Republican nominee for a seat on the Pinellas County Commission.

The small-business woman raised about $7,900 from Aug. 24 through the end of the month, bringing her fundraising total to about $181,500 since she entered the race to succeed Peters late last year. That puts her ahead of her opponent by about $3,500 in campaign fundraising.

“It’s clear that voters are attracted to our community-centered campaign, and they understand what’s at stake with this election,” Webb said in a press release touting her fundraising efforts.

“I’m grateful for the voters that continue to support our campaign. I’m committed to creating an environment where hardworking families and local businesses can thrive together,” she continued. “I will fight for clean waterways, shore up our schools and infrastructure, and ensure that families suffering from mental health or substance use can access much-needed treatment.”

Thanks to one-time Democratic candidate Javier Centonzio stepping aside, Webb was able to make it through primary season without facing a challenger. Blacklidge wasn’t as fortunate.

The Madeira Beach attorney went up against St. Petersburg attorney Jeremy Bailie in a head-to-head that ended up being a 58-42 percent rout, but it took nearly all of his war chest to do so — Blacklidge spent nearly $71,000 in the two weeks leading up to the primary election, most of it heading to Front Line Strategies, a Tallahassee-based consulting shop that offers an array of advertising and campaign services.

His final August report showed a single $1,000 check, bringing him to $178,082 in total hard money fundraising. Excluding self-funding, he’s brought in $142,284. Either way you slice it, he only had $2,500 of those funds left to spend heading into September.

While Webb has taken the lead when it comes to hard money, Blacklidge also has an affiliated political committee, Friends of Ray Blacklidge, that has brought in $52,210 this cycle. The committee’s cupboard is just as bare as his campaign account’s with about $2,600 at the ready.

Those figures also give Webb a massive lead in cash on hand. She started September with $88,820 in hard money in her account while Blacklidge had $5,123 between his campaign and committee.

The one advantage for Blacklidge: Since he faced an opponent in the primary, all the donors chipped in max contributions during the primary — 104 at last count — may do so again for the general election according to the state code governing campaign finance.

Webb hasn’t relied as heavily on $1,000 checks; they make up about a third of her total fundraising, with the average of her 1162 monetary donors chipping in about $158.33, leaving plenty of room for those supporters to keep up with small-dollar donations. By comparison, Blacklidge’s average donor has given $483.95.

HD 69 includes part of St. Petersburg and the communities of Redington Beach, Madeira Beach, Treasure Island, South Pasadena and Gulfport. Republicans have a slim lead in voter registrations in the district, which voted plus-3 for Donald Trump in 2016.

Webb was also the Democratic nominee two years ago, but lost by 13 percentage points on Election Day. The lack of an incumbent, the possibility of a “blue wave” and her strong fundraising — she’s outdone her 2016 tally and has $37,000 more banked than she did at the same checkpoint two years ago — will lead to the Pinellas County district flipping blue.

The next round of campaign finance reports, covering the first two weeks of September, are due to the state on Sept. 21.

Kristen Carlson - CD 15

Shock Poll: Kristen Carlson leads Ross Spano in first poll of CD 15 battle

Florida’s 15th Congressional District was considered a gimme to Republicans not so long ago, but political handicappers and oddsmakers have been shifting the seat away from the GOP in recent weeks.

A new internal poll released by Democratic nominee Kristen Carlson puts some weight behind those shifts — it shows her with a 1-point lead over Dover state Rep. Ross Spano among voters living in CD 15, which covers parts of Hillsborough, Polk and Lake counties.

The poll, released by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, conducted live interviews with 400 CD 15 voters with a sample that was 36 percent Democrat, 42 percent Republican and 22 percent with no party affiliation.

When asked how they would vote generically, respondents favored Republicans 42-36 percent, however, that margin tightened to 48-47 percent in favor of the GOP when respondents were asked how they would vote in a generic congressional race. When the names of the two candidates were revealed, respondents said they preferred Carlson by a point, 48-47 percent with 5 percent undecided.

Also noted by the Carlson campaign was her 10-point lead among unaffiliated voters, who preferred the former prosecutor and General Counsel for the Florida Department of Citrus over Spano, a third term state lawmaker, 54-44 percent.

“Kristen Carlson’s vision of making healthcare more affordable, and protecting Social Security and Medicare is clearly resonating with the hard-working people of Florida’s 15th district,” said campaign manager Conor Hurley. “Kristen is focused on the issues that matter to voters and not the partisan politics of Washington, DC. This district needs a representative that will stand up for working families not special interests, and voters know that Kristen is fighting for them.”

Carlson is leaning on her record as she looks to flip the Republican seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election in the fall. To that end, she’s already hit the airwaves with an ad touting her role in exposing companies that added harmful chemicals to juice kids drink in school.

According to the model from FiveThirtyEight, founded by analyst Nate Silver, Carlson has a 25 percent chance of flipping the district. Additionally, University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato rates the seat as “Likely Republican” while the Cook Political Report lists it as “Lean Republican.”

Through Aug. 8, Carlson lead Spano in overall fundraising with about $305,000 raised to his $221,000. Spano leads in cash on hand, however, with $111,000 in the bank compared to $51,000 for Carlson.

Spano earned a resounding victory in the five-way primary for CD 15, defeating his toughest competitor, former state Rep. Neil Combee, 44-34 percent. Carlson, likewise, took a majority of the vote in the three-way primary between her, Andrew Learned and Ray Peña.

CD 15 covers parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties. It voted plus-10 for President Donald Trump two years ago while Ross scored a 15-point victory over Democratic nominee Jim Lange.

The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research survey was conducted Sept. 4-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Carlson and Spano will go head-to-head in the Nov. 6 general election alongside three write-in candidates who also qualified for the election.

Two Democratic groups launch new anti-Rick Scott digital ads

Two Democratic political action committees, the Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA, are teaming for a new digital ad blitz against Republican Gov. Rick Scott‘s U.S. Senate bid, part of a $21 million national internet advertising campaign targeting Republican U.S. Senate candidates in nine states.

One new 15-second spot set to run in Florida, “Richer” charges that, as Governor, Scott turned down funding for health care and cut funding for public education while supporting tax cuts for the rich, and got richer himself along the way.

“Scott got richer, and even bought himself a new private jet, while our families got hurt,” the narrator says, as pictures of Scott, a private jet, and a sad mother and daughter move across the screen. “Scott’s never been on our side. He never will be.”

Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA said in a news release they’re spending $18 million combined on this ad and other attack ads being launched in Florida, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota. Senate Majority PAC also announced it is spending an additional $3 million on its own for new ads in Montana, Nevada, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The release did not break down how much of the $18 million is being spent on Florida, but the Sunshine State has more residents than the other four states combined. The ads will run on Facebook and video and audio streaming platforms such as YouTube, Hulu and Spotify, among other platforms, the release stated.

Last month, the same two groups spent $1.1 million on internet ads attacking Scott on health care issues. Earlier this year, Senate Majority PAC put $2.2 million behind television commercials backing Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who’s being challenged by Scott in the Nov. 6 election. And in May, the two groups teamed up for $600,000 in digital ads supporting Nelson.

“Across the Senate map, Republican candidates are on the wrong side of the issues most important to voters, and we are using every tool we have to hammer that point home,” J.B. Poersch, president of SMP, stated in the release. “With Priorities’ help, we are amassing a robust and efficient digital program to communicate to voters that Democrats are the ones fighting for the middle class, while Republicans continue to look out for the wealthy and the special interests.”

Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are desperate to hold on to power so they can stack the courts, weaken Medicare, and pass even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations at our expense,” Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA Action stated in the release. “Priorities USA Action is committed to closing the digital spending gap in critical races and is thrilled to work closely with SMP to talk to voters about the issues that matter most.”

greg steube

Greg Steube reloading campaign funds with Oct. 2 fundraiser in Sarasota

Sarasota state Sen. Greg Steube cruised through the Republican primary for Florida’s 17th Congressional District, but now it’s time to refill his war chest for the upcoming general election showdown with Cape Coral Democrat April Freeman.

To that end, Alan Jay Wildstein and Ashley Pierce are hosting a fundraising reception for the 40-year-old Republican’s congressional campaign in Sarasota next month.

The Oct. 2 reception will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., but it’ll take an RSVP to Kelly Dowd via Kelly@ElectGregSteube.com to get an address for the event. The invitation lists a suggested contribution of $1,000 to get in the door.

In the Aug. 28 primary election, Steube garnered more than 60 percent of the vote while Venice state Rep. Julio Gonzalez was the pick for 18 percent of Republican voters, putting him in third place behind lesser-known candidate Bill Akins, who received 19 percent of the vote.

Gonzalez blamed his resounding defeat on several oppo dumps by the Steube campaign, including unearthing some “Never Trump” comments made by Gonzalez during U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s doomed presidential campaign in 2016.

“My character was assassinated,” Gonzalez said. “It’s really sad that tonight deceit and lies prevailed in the political discourse.”

On the Democratic side, Freeman scored a 77-23 victory over Bill Pollard though she faces much steeper odds in the general election for CD 17, an expansive and solidly Republican seat where President Donald Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton 62-35 two years ago.

When it comes to fundraising, Steube had raised more than $525,000 for his campaign account and had about $132,000 banked as of Aug. 8. Steube has also been the beneficiary of a load of spending by outside groups. In July, Club for Growth Action and Liberty and Leadership Fund said they had $627,000 banked to boost Steube’s congressional bid and that they had already put $400,000 of that cash behind broadcast and cable ads.

Freeman, meanwhile, had raised just $28,265 and had $4,283 left to spend through the same date.

CD 17 is open this year thanks to current GOP U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney’s decision to not seek re-election this year. The district sprawls across parts of Sarasota, Lee and Polk counties as well as the whole of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties.

Rooney has held the seat since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections. Freeman was also the Democratic nominee two years ago when Rooney won re-election with 62 percent of the vote.

Election Day is Nov. 6. The fundraiser invitation is below.

Keith Perry

Bill Galvano helping Keith Perry raise re-election cash in Tallahassee

Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano will host a fundraiser for Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry in Tallahassee next week.

The Sept. 20 reception will be held at the Florida Retail Federation office, 226 S. Adams St., from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Making the host committee alongside Senate Appropriations Chair Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican, Elkton Republican Sen. Travis Hutson and Melissa Ramba, FRF’s VP of Government Affairs.

Those looking to attend the fundraiser can direct their RSVPs to Skylar Swanson via Skylar@VoteKeithPerry.com or (352) 888-5770.

Perry was elected to Senate District 8 in 2016 with a 5-point victory over former Florida Democratic Party chair and former Sen. Rod Smith. Due to new Senate maps, Perry has to run for re-election after serving just two years.

In 2018 he will face Democratic nominee Kayser Enneking, a Gainesville physician, and former Gainesville City Commissioner Charles Goston, a Democrat who filed for the seat as an unaffiliated candidate.

Through the end of August, Perry had raised more than $500,000 in hard money and another $231,500 through his political committee, Building a Prosperous Florida, and had about $525,000 in the bank between the two accounts. His campaign has also received more than $425,000 worth of “in kind” support from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, a party affiliated committee chaired by Galvano that aims to maintain the Republican majority in the state Senate.

By comparison, Enneking has raised $412,500 in hard money and another $175,000 through her political committee, Florida Knows Excellence, and had about $235,000 in the bank at the end of the month — her campaign had to shell out about $132,500 during the closing weeks of her primary race against Gainesville Democrat Olysha Magruder in order to combat a massive “dark money” campaign funded by Republican operatives.

Enneking has also received about $129,000 worth of “in kind” support from the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm for Democratic senate candidates chaired by incoming Minority Leader Audrey Gibson.

Goston, who lost re-election to the City Commission in a landslide, has about $1,800 in his account and is only relevant as a possible spoiler.

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 over two years ago as the seat was narrowly carried by President Donald Trump.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

Keith Perry Fundraiser 9.20.2018

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