2018 legislative races Archives - Page 5 of 47 - Florida Politics
Bob Cortes

Florida GOP antes up for Bob Cortes’ re-election bid

Altamonte Springs Republican Rep. Bob Cortes posted his best campaign finance report of the 2018 cycle, increasing his already significant cash edge over Democratic challenger Joy Goff-Marcil.

The new report, which covers the first two weeks of September, shows $70,025 in receipts for the second-term lawmaker and nearly quadruples his heretofore record for a single fundraising report — $18,050 raised for the entire month of May.

Goff-Marcil, meanwhile, added $2,830 to her campaign account between Sept. 1 and Sept. 14. That sum represents a backslide from the $5,100 she raked in for the reporting period for the three days at the end of August following her victory in a three-way Democratic primary against Clark Anderson and Brandon Ramirez.

Her resounding primary win came in spite of national players such as George Soros making a strong, public push for Ramirez in the final days ahead of the election.

The bulk of Cortes’ new money was a $46,000 check from the Republican party of Florida, which has thrown tens of thousands of dollars into several Orlando-area state House seats, including a $50,000 check for Ben Griffin, an Orlando Republican who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith in House District 49.

Cortes also reeled in a score of checks for the maximum campaign donation of $1,000, including contributions from telecom giant Comcast, Koch Industries, lobby firm The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners and lobbyist Ron Book.

Also sending in a max contribution was BusinessForce PC, an offshoot of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce that recently issued a bulk endorsement of a dozen state House candidates including Cortes.

Only $2,580 went out the door during the two-week stretch, leaving Cortes with nearly $205,000 left to spend out of the $236,800 he’s raised thus far. Goff-Marcil’s to-date fundraising total reached nearly $34,500 at the end of the reporting period, with around $10,850 banked.

HD 30 straddles the border of Seminole and Orange counties and includes the communities of Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Eatonville, Fern Park, Forest City, Goldenrod, Lockhart and Maitland. About two-thirds of HD 30 voters live on the Seminole side.

The district is home to slightly more Democratic voters than Republican ones, and it was one of only a handful of seats in 2016 to elect a Republican representative while voting in favor of Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket.

Scott Plakon adds $16K, Tracey Kagan adds $4K in HD 29 battle

Sanford Republican Rep. Scott Plakon added an even $16,000 to his campaign fund during the first half of last month, bringing his overall fundraising total past the $125,000 mark.

The Sept. 1 through Sept. 14 reporting period saw House District 29’s second-term lawmaker cash more than a dozen checks for the maximum campaign donation of $1,000, including contributions from lobbyist Ron Book and lobby firm Akerman LLP as well as hospital corporation HCA.

BusinessForce, a group connected to the Orlando Chamber of Commerce, also showed up with a $1,000 check shortly before the group publicly endorsed Plakon’s re-election bid.

Plakon also spent and even $10,000 during the two-week reporting period, with all of that cash heading to Tallahassee-based Southern Campaign Resources for consulting work.

He finished the reporting period with $129,065 in hard money raised thus far with $104,420 left to spend.

Challenging Plakon in the Seminole County seat is Democratic nominee Tracey Kagan, who last month defeated fellow Democrat Darryl Block after earning more than two-thirds of the vote in the primary.

Her new report showed $3,926 in new money, with all 16 receipts listed coming in from individual donors. Topping the list was a $1,000 check from Craig Wilding of Lake Mary. Kagan also spent a little over $2,000 during the reporting period, with $1,000 paying for financial services and $450 covering credit card processing fees via the NationBuilder platform.

Kagan’s haul brings her total fundraising to nearly $50,000, including $15,000 in candidate loans. She had about $11,000 in the bank on Sept. 14.

HD 29 covers part of western Seminole County, including Heathrow, Lake Mary, Longwood, Wekiwa Springs and part of Sanford. According to the most recent bookclosing report released by the Florida Division of Elections, there are about 7,500 more registered Republican voters than Democrats within its borders.

The seat is not a total reach for Democrats, however. In 2012, Democrat Mike Clelland pulled off a shocker by defeating former Republican Rep. Chris Dorworth by fewer than 150 votes. Dorworth was in line to be House Speaker after the 2014 elections.

Plakon put the seat back in the GOP column in 2014 with a 57-43 win over Clelland. Plakon won re-election in 2016 without an Election Day opponent, though the district went plus-4 for Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

David Smith nears $250K raised for HD 28 bid

Winter Springs Republican David Smith added another $15,845 to his campaign account during the first half of September, bringing his overall fundraising to $248,000.

Smith is up against Casselberry Democrat Lee Mangold in the race to replace term-limited Republican Rep. Jason Brodeur in the Seminole County state House seat.

Among the 33 checks Smith cashed between Sept. 1 and Sept. 14 were a dozen checks for the maximum campaign donation of $1,000, including contributions from several entities tied to the House of Mouse. Showing up alongside a handful of political committees and a check from lobbyist Ron Book were contributions from Disney Photo Imaging, Magical Cruise Company and the Magic Kingdom.

Business Force PC also showed up with a $1,000 contribution. The group, a spinoff of the Orlando area Chamber of Commerce, endorsed Smith and 11 other state House candidates two weeks ago.

Spending measured in at about $9,400, with a $2,700 payment to McShane LLC for advertising topping the ledger. Another $2,000 was spent on video production with the remainder heading to several individuals for contract labor.

Smith’s overall total includes $85,000 in candidate loans. He finished the reporting period with $135,700 at the ready.

Mangold’s new report showed about $3,250 raised, with all but a handful of his rake coming in from individual donors. Other entities on his donor roll included the Seminole County Democratic Executive Committee and Booth’s Cobblestones. He also received $991 worth of “in-kind” support from New York-based political committee The People PAC for video production work.

The report brings him up to $40,358 in total fundraising, including $10,000 in candidate loans. He finished the reporting period with $18,560 on hand.

Smith and Mangold were the only two candidates who qualified to succeed term-limited Brodeur in HD 28, which covers part of northeastern Seminole County including Sanford, Winter Springs, Casselberry and Oviedo. They will go head-to-head in the Nov. 6 general election.

HD 28 has a GOP lean.

According to the most recent bookclosing report from the Florida Division of Elections, Republican voters make up nearly 40 percent of the electorate compared to a 33 percent share for Democrats, and Brodeur has not faced a Democratic opponent on Election Day in his three re-election campaigns since the seat was redrawn in 2012.

The seat is not out of reach for Democrats, however, especially if the so-called “blue wave” hits Florida. It only voted plus-4 for Donald Trump two years ago.

David Santiago

David Santiago maintains major cash lead in HD 27

State Rep. David Santiago, a Deltona Republican, brought in another healthy haul for his re-election effort in Volusia County’s House District 27, hanging on to his massive money advantage over Democratic challenger Carol Lawrence.

Santiago’s haul included $1,000 checks from Committee for Fair Competition in Telecommunications, Duke Energy Florida, Florida ACRE and My Community Pharmacy of Boynton Beach. The report also included $4,500 worth of “in-kind” support from the Republican Party of Florida for consulting and research expenses.

Spending measured in at a modest $3,800, most of which was marked down as a reimbursement to Santiago for campaign expenses, with $1,000 heading to Virginia-based Grassroots Political Consulting and $500 heading to Robinson, Hanks, Young and Roberts for accounting work.

As of Sept. 14, Santiago had raised more than $198,000 in hard dollars for his campaign, with more than $112,000 of that cash in the bank. That alone gives him a six-figure edge over Lawrence, though he also has an affiliated political committee, Economic Growth PAC, with an additional $135,500 on hand.

For her part, Lawrence tacked on $580 from a handful of individual donors while spending more than $14,000 of her reserves, the vast majority of which were marked down as reimbursements, though she also paid for a storage unit and a $75 “candidate fee” to the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections.

Lawrence has brought in a little over $3,500 for her campaign since entering the race in March, though she juiced her account with $38,000 in candidate loans during her primary battle against Neil Henrichsen, whom she defeated 70-30 percent last month.

As of Sept. 14, Lawrence had about $19,000 left to spend in her campaign account.

HD 27 covers southern Volusia County, including Deltona, DeBary and Orange City and has a Republican edge. In 2016, Santiago was elected for a third term in the state House with 59 percent of the vote while Donald Trump carried the district by a 54-42 percent margin.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Spending spree: Senators send back up to swelling GOP Senate fund

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young offloaded more than half of the cash available in her affiliated political committee last week with a single, $800,000 check to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Her committee, Friends of Dana Young, had $1.38 million in the bank on Sept. 7 but at the end of the reporting period ending Sept. 14 the committee had about $573,000 left to spend.

It’s likely that much of that cash will come back to her via “in-kind” support for her SD 18 re-election campaign from FRSCC, a cash rich party affiliated committee helmed by incoming Senate President Bill Galvano that’s charged with maintaining the Republican majority in the state Senate.

As of Aug. 31, FRSCC had provided nearly $400,000 in assistance to Young’s campaign.

Young’s contribution comes as she faces a tough battle against House Minority leader Janet Cruz to hold her seat, which covers much of Tampa. Polling has indicated it will be a close race. At one point, Cruz held a slim lead, but Young is now back on top by 3 points according to a St. Pete Polls survey conducted this week.

After the transfer, Young had about $1 million left to spend between her campaign and committee accounts. Cruz, meanwhile, has about $165,000 at the ready between her two accounts.

Young’s transfer came alongside another infusion from the political committee of Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson. His committee, Jobs for Florida, chipped in $550,000 last week, bringing the committee’s lifetime contributions to the fund past the $1.9 million mark.

Simpson, who represents SD 10, will also be on the ballot in the fall though he will only face nominal opposition from Spring Hill Democrat Michael Cottrell. Unlike Young’s SD 18, which has a purple electorate, SD 10 voted has voted overwhelmingly for the Republican candidate in nearly every statewide race over the past decade.

Jobs for Florida had $1.57 million on hand on Sept. 14.

Young’s and Simpson’s contributions give a window in the financial health of FRSCC, which has more infrequent reporting deadlines than political committees. FRSCC had nearly $2 million in the bank at the end of the April through August reporting period, with its next report due just a few days before the Nov. 6 general election.

Yard signs: Florida Realtors announce November election endorsements

Florida Realtors PAC, the political arm of the state’s largest professional association, issued endorsements in statewide races and a bundle of legislative districts Wednesday.

The group released three waves of endorsements ahead of the Aug. 28 primary election. Now that the title cards are set, their list of preferred candidates received a few adjustments.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis has been subbed in for the Florida Realtors’ primary season pick, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, at the top of the ticket. The GOP nominee to replace Putnam, state Rep. Matt Caldwell, has tagged in Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley.

Sitting CFO Jimmy Patronis, the only incumbent Cabinet member, remains the Realtor-backed pick for the general election, as does Republican Attorney General nominee Ashley Moody, who defeated Pensacola state Rep. Frank White by double digits three weeks ago.

“As Realtors, we pride ourselves on our long-standing efforts to defend private property rights, promote community prosperity and preserve a professional climate that ensures the economic growth of Florida,” said Florida Realtors PAC chair Ann DeFries.

“Our continued success in these efforts involves elected officials who share these beliefs and will work with our 180,000-plus members to help Floridians and their communities thrive.”

Other than the CFO race, where Democratic challenger Jeremy Ring has trailed in both the polls and in fundraising, Florida’s statewide contests are shaping up to be competitive.

DeSantis currently trails Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by a hair in most polls, while Nikki Fried and Sean Shaw, the Democratic nominees for Ag Commish and Attorney General, scored comfortable wins in the primary and have shown solid fundraising thus far.

Further down the ballot, the Republican nominees in the most competitive state Senate districts — Sen. Keith Perry in SD 8, former state Rep. Ed Hooper in SD 16, Sen. Dana Young in SD 18, Sen. Kelli Stargel in SD 22 and state Rep. Manny Diaz in SD 36 — all retained their endorsements from July.

Perry, Hooper, Young and Stargel each held a lead in over their Democratic challengers in public polls conducted this week by St. Pete Polls.

A full list of endorsed candidates is available on the Florida Realtors PAC website. The general election is Nov. 6.

Ardian Zika

Richard Corcoran backs Ardian Zika as his successor in HD 37

House Speaker Richard Corcoran weighed on the race for seat he’s vacating in the fall, offering his endorsement to Land O’ Lakes businessman Ardian Zika.

“I’ve long admired Ardian Zika’s service and commitment to Pasco County and Florida,” Corcoran said Wednesday. “Ardian and I share the priorities of faith and family and I am grateful for his commitment to our community.

“Ardian is a true conservative leader that understands the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Florida. I am confident Ardian Zika will represent the people of House District 37 well and he has my strong support and my vote this election.”

Corcoran cannot run for re-election in the fall due to term limits. His endorsement comes after Zika received more than 57 percent of the vote in the three-way Republican primary for Pasco County-based state House district. He faces Democratic nominee Tammy Garcia, also of Land O’Lakes, in the general election.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the endorsement of Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Richard Corcoran,” Zika said. “Speaker Corcoran has been a principled leader fighting for all Florida and has well represented the people of House District 37 over the past eight years. I am grateful for Speaker Corcoran’s service to the people of Pasco County and the State of Florida.”

HD 37 covers the majority of inland Pasco County, including the communities of Land O’ Lakes, Odessa, Heritage Pines, Shady Hills, Meadow Oaks and Moon Lake.

Though Corcoran never faced an Election Day challenger in his three campaign since the seat was redrawn ahead of the 2012 cycle, the district has voted overwhelmingly for Republicans in statewide elections. Donald Trump carried the HD 37 by a 61-34 percent margin in 2016.

Prior to earning the nod from Corcoran, Zika had picked up endorsements from St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, former House Speaker Will Weatherford, Pasco Tax Collector Mike Fasano and Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Keith Perry

Keith Perry has double-digit lead over Kayser Enneking in SD 8

Incumbent Republican Sen. Keith Perry has a big lead over Democratic challenger Kayser Enneking in the race for Gainesville-based Senate District 8.

According to a new survey from St. Pete Polls, Perry currently has 49 percent support compared to just 38 percent support for Enneking. Former Gainesville City Commissioner Charles Goston, who lost his re-election bid earlier this year in a landslide, was the pick for 5 percent of SD 8 voters with the remaining 8 percent undecided.

The 11-point gap between Perry and Enneking stems from the latter’s comparatively week support among registered Democrats, only 63 percent of whom said they planned to vote for the Democratic nominee in November. Perry, who moved up to the Senate two years ago, pulls nearly a fifth of Democratic votes while Goston claims 6 percent with 11 percent undecided.

Among Republicans, Perry dominates with more than 85 percent backing the longtime lawmaker while Enneking and Goston, who made a late-entry as an unaffiliated candidate, combine to 10 percent support among registered Republicans.

By race, Perry leads Enneking 58-32 among white voters, who make up more than 70 percent of the district’s voting age population. Enneking holds a 54-18 lead among black voters, with Goston, who is black, breaking into double digits. Black voters make up about 17 percent of the SD 8 electorate.

Perry also holds a lead among men and women, with the former preferring him 54-35 percent and the latter by a 9-point margin. The Gainesville roofer also leads among all age groups, with a 7-point lead among Millennials, a 5-point edge among Gen Xers and double digit leads among Baby Boomers and voters over 70.

SD 8 is one of a handful of districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the Senate map was redrawn ahead of the 2016 elections. According to the most recent bookclosing report from the Florida Division of Elections, about 55 percent of the district’s population lives in Alachua County, while 30 percent live in northern Marion County and the remaining 15 percent live in Putnam County.

Despite nearly Democrats holding a nearly 24,000-person advantage in voter registrations, Perry defeated Rod Smith, a former Florida Democratic Party chair and state Senator, by about 5 points two years ago. Also in 2016, President Donald Trump carried the district by about two-tenths of a percentage point.

This cycle, Enneking has posted impressive fundraising numbers but she faced an expensive primary election against Olysha Magruder that saw her spend more than $116,000 in hard money in the closing weeks of the race. That spending was brought about after a “dark money” campaign connected to Republican operatives spent well into the six figures bashing Enneking and boosting Magruder through mailers, TV ads and text message outreach.

At the beginning of September, Enneking had raised more than $575,000 between her campaign and committee, Florida Knows Excellence, but she only had about $225,000 left in the bank. Perry, meanwhile, has raised about $738,000 between his campaign and committee, Building a Prosperous Florida, and has about $525,000 banked.

Perry has also received more than $427,000 in “in-kind” support, mostly from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, while Enneking has received about $145,000 in backup from Democratic Party accounts thus far. Goston, for his part, has raised little and does not appear to be actively campaigning for the job.

The St. Pete Polls survey was conducted by an automated phone call polling system on Sept. 17. It received 981 responses from registered voters who said they planned to vote in the general election. Democrats made up 45 sample, while Republicans made up 38 percent and independents made up 17 percent.

The topline results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Jason Pizzo

Senate Democrats holding Tallahassee fundraisers Wednesday, Thursday

Those spending next week in Tallahassee can fill their calendar with a pair of fundraisers for Senate Democrats on Wednesday and Thursday.

The first event will benefit a political committee tied to soon-to-be state Sen. Jason Pizzo, who last month unseated incumbent Sen. Daphne Campbell from Miami-Dade’s Senate District 38 after a 54-46 percent victory in an open Democratic primary.

Pizzo, a former prosecutor, will hold the reception benefitting his Protecting Coastal Communities PAC from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Library of the Governors Club, located at 202 S Adams St. Those looking to attend can send an RSVP to Kay Cook via KCook@EdgeCommFL.com or 571-235-0318.

The second fundraiser will benefit the re-election campaign of Miami Sen. Annette Taddeo, who faces Republican challenger Marili Cancio in the Nov. 6 general election for Senate District 40.

Her event, billed as the “1st Annual Parrot Heat Frozen Concoction Celebration,” will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Florida Professional Firefighters headquarters, 343 W Madison St. Like Pizzo’s event, those planning to swing by can send a note or drop a line to Kay Cook.

Taddeo flipped SD 40 in a special election just under a year ago, but Cancio has been able to raise $273,700 between her campaign and political committee, Friends of Marili Cancio, and has about $260,500 of that cash in the bank.

Still, Taddeo has the fundraising advantage in the swing seat with a combined $478,275 banked between her campaign account and political committee, Fight Back Florida.

The invitations to both events are below.

Pizzo fundraiser 9.19.2018

Kelli Stargel leads Bob Doyel by a touchdown in SD 22

Despite Democratic challenger Bob Doyel touting internal poll numbers showing him leading Republican state Sen. Kelli Stargel, the first public poll of the SD 22 general election shows Stargel with an outside-the-margin lead in her re-election bid.

A new St. Pete Polls survey, conducted Sunday, found Stargel up by 7 percentage points among registered voters who said they planned to vote in the general election. The 48-41 percent lead for Stargel comes about a month after Doyel, a retired circuit court judge, circulated an internal poll showing him with a 45-40 lead as well as decent name ID within the district.

Stargel received more than 80 percent support from registered Republicans and held a 45-39 percent lead among unaffiliated and third-party voters. Doyel’s support among SD 22 Democrats was less robust, with 71 percent backing him, 17 percent supporting Stargel and 12 percent undecided.

Stargel’s lead reached 20 points among white voters, who make up about two-thirds of SD 22’s voting age population. Doyel was far ahead among black and Hispanic voters. The sample size for those demographics, however, was small.

By age, Stargel holds 9-point edge among 18- to 29-year-olds and leads by 8 percentage points among the 50- to 69-year-old bracket. The race was tighter among Gen Xers and the over 70 crowd, the former of which preferred Stargel by a 44-40 percent margin and the latter of which broke toward her 46-41 percent.

Doyel trailed by double digits among men, though the race is much tighter among women, who only are only leaning toward Stargel by 2 points, 45-43 percent.

SD 22 covers southern Lake County and northern Polk County and has trended toward GOP candidates in the past despite registered Democrats outnumbering registered Republicans by a couple points.

Florida Democrats are hoping the ‘blue wave’ can put it and other Republican-held Senate seats in play come November, though like in most other FDP-targeted districts, there’s a large fundraising disparity between the GOP and Democratic nominees.

Doyel was challenged by former state Rep. Ricardo Rangel in the Aug. 28 primary and spent a large amount of cash ahead of the 66-34 percent rout. Heading into September, he had about $92,500 in hard money $31,350 in his political committee, Bring Back Democracy.

Through the same date, Stargel had just shy of $240,000 in her campaign account with another $215,250 banked in her affiliated political committee, Limited Govt for a Stronger Florida.

In the 2016 cycle, Stargel scored a 7-point win over underfunded and overmatched Democrat Debra Wright. President Donald Trump also carried the district by nearly the same margin.

The St. Pete Polls survey was conducted by an automated phone call polling system on Sept. 16. It received responses from 569 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons