fundraising – Page 3 – Florida Politics

Kubs Lalchandani keeps up money lead over HD 113 opponents

Democrat Kubs Lalchandani still leads the field in fundraising in the race for House District 113.

Lalchandani brought in more than $10,000 in May, crossing the $100,000 mark for money raised so far this campaign. He has more than $70,000 of that remaining.

Lalchandani is one of four candidates running to replace state Rep. David Richardson in HD 113. Richardson is currently competing for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 27th Congressional District.

Lalchandani graduated from Cornell Law School before clerking under U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz. He then entered private practice, eventually opening his own law firm.

Not surprisingly, many of the May donations to Lalchandani came from various attorneys and law firms. He also received $1,000 from a local Teamsters union.

Two other Democrats are competing with Lalchandani for the HD 113 nomination. Deede Weithorn has not yet filed fundraising information for May. As of April, she had raised more than $65,000, with just over $28,000 still on hand.

A third Democrat, Michael Grieco, has not declared any fundraising totals since registering as a candidate in May. Neither has Jonathan Parker, the only Republican to file in the HD 113 race.

HD 113 covers North Bay Village and Miami Beach.

Richardson easily won his previous three elections. He defeated his Republican opponent 65-35 percent in 2016 and was unopposed in the general election in both 2014 and 2012.

That’s good news for the winner of the 2018 Democratic primary, which will be held Aug. 28. The general election is set for Nov. 6.

Polk County delegation piles on the campaign cash in May

The five lawmakers representing a piece of Polk County in the Florida House continued cruising toward Election Day with more than $90,000 in combined campaign fundraising.

Winter Haven Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew had the strongest May fundraising report of the five members of the Polk delegation, all of whom are Republicans.

The House District 41 lawmaker added $35,525 in contributions and spent just $2,395, leaving him with $80,790 in the bank as he runs for a second term against Democratic challengers Carmelo Garcia and Alex Perkins.

Garcia, who filed May 26, posted a waiver for the brief period he was a candidate last month, while Perkins hasn’t reported raising a dime since filing for the Republican stronghold in February.

Over in House District 56, term-limited Wauchula Rep. Ben Albritton showed $24,450 in new money for his campaign to succeed exiting Republican Sen. Denise Grimsley, who is running for Agriculture Commissioner in the fall.

The report, his best since October, brings his fundraising total to $172,050 with $105,646 banked. His opponent in the Senate District 26 race, Democrat Catherine Price, had raised just under $17,000 for her campaign through the end of April and had $14,263 on hand.

The gulf in fundraising between Albritton in Price is even wider when committee money is included in the tally —Albritton has another $175,000 on hand in Advancing Florida Agriculture, including $11,000 raised in May.

Taking the No. 3 spot on the Polk delegation list was Lakeland Republican Rep. Colleen Burton, who received $19,150 in campaign contributions for her House District 40 re-election bid.

Burton, currently in her second term, has now raised nearly $135,000 for the 2018 election cycle. After $7,666 in May spending, she has $88,080 banked.

Her lone opponent is Democrat Shandale Terrell, who showed $250 raised in May. Since filing for the seat in November 2016, Terrell has raised about $3,200 and had $2,330 in the bank heading into June.

St. Cloud Rep. Mike La Rosa, who represents a piece of western Polk, was $50 shy of the $10,000 mark in his May report. The third-term HD 42 lawmaker’s $9,950 in fundraising was almost completely wiped out by $9,843 in spending, leaving him with $66,765 in his campaign account on May 31.

His main opponent, Democrat Barbary Cady, hasn’t posted her May numbers yet, though she had raised a not insignificant $32,000 through the end of April with $20,175 on hand.

Also running are Republican Bienvenido Valentin and unaffiliated candidate Lonzell Ivory, neither of whom have gained traction in the money race.

The final member of the Polk delegation is also the newest member of the Florida House: Polk City Rep. Josie Tomkow.

In her first campaign finance report since winning the special election to replace former Rep. Neil Combee in House District 39, Tomkow showed $2,220 in contributions.

The small haul isn’t anything to worry about — no other candidates have filed for the seat and it’s unlikely another Republican files to challenge her before the end of the candidate qualifying period on June 22. If a Democratic candidate were to enter the fray HD 39 already proven to be a safe fortress to ride out “blue wave.”

Jerry Demings raises another $80K in mayor’s race

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings raised another $80,000 for his campaign and political committee in his quest to be elected mayor of Orange County.

Demings reported bringing in $48,950 for his official campaign and another $32,349 for his political committee, Orange County Citizens for Smart Growth during the month of May. That brings his total raised over $1 million between the funds, and he entered June with $959,013 left to spend.

His top competitor in the money chase, former Orlando chamber of commerce president and Winter Park entrepreneur Rob Panepinto, reported raising $33,202 for his official campaign but just $7,000 for his independent committee, Vision Orange County. Panepinto now has raised $641,433 overall and ended May with $376,615 left in his funds.

A third major candidate, Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke, raised $9,050 in May. He now has raised $249,681, most of which coming from his own wallet, and came into June with $220,835 left.

Demings biggest check was from hotelier Terry Shaikh, who contributed $20,000 in May to Demings political committee; while Panepinto’s most generous benefactor in May was Gupta Vishaal, who’s in real estate and donated $5,000 to his political committee.

Matt Spritz HD 89 Republican candidate

Matt Spritz ends May with more than $150,000 cash on hand

Attorney Matt Spritz ended May with another round of impressive fundraising reports, finishing with more than $150,000 cash on hand between his campaign and committee.

Spritz, a Boca Raton Republican, pulled in more than $10,000 for his campaign fund, leaving him with more than $120,000 cash on hand in the race for House District 89. His committee, Invest in Florida, didn’t add any funds but after some light spending it finished the month with $30,000 banked.

Spritz is facing off against fellow Republican Michael Caruso in the race for Rep. Bill Hager‘s seat. Hager is unable to run in 2018 due to term limits.

The seat leans Republican, having been held by Hager since it was redrawn 2012. He was unopposed in his most recent run.

Democrats James Bonfiglio and Ryan Rossi are also competing for the seat. They are joined by Deborah Gibson, an unaffiliated candidate.

Caruso has not yet updated his fundraising information for May, so it’s not clear if he’s kept up with the pace set by Spritz. Spritz has also received plenty of GOP support in the form of endorsements. He’s been backed by Republican lawmakers in the state House as well as former U.S. Senator George LeMieux.

As of April 30, Caruso’s fundraising total stood at $166,800, including $110,000 in candidate loans, and he had more than $136,000 on hand.

HD 89 covers parts of the Palm Beach County coast. The primary elections will be held on August 28.

Melissa Howard HD 73

Melissa Howard raises more than $20K in May

Sarasota Republican Melissa Howard raised more than $20,000 last month for her bid to replace exiting Rep. Joe Gruters in House District 73.

Howard raised $10,550 through her campaign account and raised another $10,000 through her affiliated political committee, Citizens for Transparency in Government.

The campaign haul came in via 26 contributions, including five for the maximum allowable donation of $1,000. Those donors included Johnny Budslick, Lisa Budslick, Mary Gratehouse and Pamela Hughes, all of whom made the host committee for Howard’s upcoming fundraiser in Sarasota.

The committee money came in through two $5,000 contributions, one apiece from Myakka City agribusiness man John Falkner and Sarasota retiree James Frauenberg.

The two accounts spent a combined $14,192 last month, including more than $8,500 in payments to Clearwater-based Direct Mail Systems and $1,325 to the Coates Law Firm for legal services. Howard started June with more than $130,000 at the ready, including $100,000 in loans she used to kickstart her campaign in April.

Howard faces fellow Republican Tommy Gregory in the Aug. 28 Republican Primary.

HD 73 is open due to current Gruters’ decision to run for the Senate seat currently held by Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube, who is running for Congress. Gruters is Howard’s campaign treasurer.

Democrat Liv Coleman is also running for the seat, though Gruters’ replacement is likely to come out of the Republican Primary — GOP voters make up nearly half of the HD 73 electorate compared to a 25 percent share for Democrats.

Gregory had not filed his May reports as of Monday afternoon, though as of April 30 he had $85,000 banked in his political committee, Friends of Tommy Gregory, and another $56,000 in the bank for his campaign account. His campaign total includes $25,000 in self-funding.

Jason Pizzo

Jason Pizzo now with more than $100,000 cash on hand in SD 38 race

Jason Pizzo continues to power his primary challenge to state Sen. Daphne Campbell, as he now sits on more than $103,000 cash on hand. That’s according to new fundraising information filed with Florida’s Division of Elections.

Pizzo, a former prosecutor, added more than $40,000 in May alone, though $25,000 of that came from a loan by Pizzo to his campaign.

As highlighted last week by Florida Politics, Campbell is working hard to fight off Pizzo’s primary challenge. Campbell spent more money than she raised in May, taking in less than $13,000 while spending just over $15,000. That leaves her with just under $30,000 available.

Pizzo has picked up a large number of endorsements in the race for Senate District 38, including mayors and current state representatives. He also earned the support of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the nation’s largest public employee trade union.

SD 38 covers a piece of eastern Miami-Dade County which includes Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, Golden Beach, Biscayne Park and Miami Shores.

The two also faced off in 2016, along with four other challengers. Campbell came out on top by just over 2,000 votes in that election.

So far, the two are the only candidates filed to run in SD 38. The primary will be held Aug. 28, followed by the general election on Nov. 6.

Rebekah Bydlak has over $100K on hand for HD 1 bid

Rebekah Bydlak has a bundle of cash on in the bank a couple months out from her primary showdown against former Republican Rep. Mike Hill in House District 1.

The Gonzalez Republican added about $18,500 to her campaign account last month — her best tally since August 2017— and spent just $2,350, leaving her with more than $112,000 at the ready heading into June.

The May finance report listed nearly 50 contributions, including a dozen for the primary campaign maximum of $1,000. A good chunk of those funds came in on May 8, the day current HD 1 Rep. Clay Ingram helped boost Bydlak’s campaign by hosting a fundraiser for her at his Pensacola home.

He has since endorsed Bydlak as his successor in the Northwest Florida district.

Topping the report were lobbying firms Floridian Partners and Floridian Partners, Southern Strategy Group lobbyist Paul Mitchell and a trio of political committees chaired by William S. JonesFight for Florida, Florida Strong and Freedom First Committee.

Spending included a $1,000 check to Gainesville-based Data Targeting Research, $870 in reimbursements for campaign expenses, $350 for accounting work. The rest of the spending was credit card processing fees paid to fundraising platform Anedot.

Hill has not yet posted his May finance report, though he finished April with nearly $37,000 in total fundraising and about $19,000 on hand.

Also running for the seat are Democrats Vikki Garrett and Franscine Cecilia Mathis, though HD 1’s Republican lean will give the winner of the Aug. 28 primary contest between Bydlak and Hill a near insurmountable advantage in November.

Garrett finished last month with about $6,860 in her campaign account while Mathis, who entered the race May 22, has not yet filed her first report.

Robert Asencio outraises opponent Anthony Rodriguez in May

Democratic state Rep. Robert Asencio outraised his Republican opponent last month, notching a victory in what’s expected to be a close November election.

Asencio pulled in more than $11,000 to his campaign. That bests Anthony Rodriguez, who only earned $7,000 in donations. Asencio also brought in just over $20,000 to his committee, Alliance For Prosperity PC.

The two are now almost dead even in cash on hand, with both sitting at just around $70,000 for the House District 118 campaign.

HD 118 covers a portion of Miami-Dade County including Tamiami and Kendall.

Asencio is the Democratic incumbent representing HD 118. He was able to barely squeak out a victory back in 2016, defeating his Republican opponent, David Rivera, 50.04 percent to 49.96 percent.

Now he’ll face off against Rodriguez, who also ran for the HD 118 seat in 2016. Rodriguez lost to Rivera in the primary.

Asencio is a former member of the Miami Police Department. He also founded Florida Public Employees Partnership, a group that advocates on behalf of Florida public employees.

Rodriguez is a Tamiami business owner.

The two are currently running unopposed in their respective primaries. If no one else declares, Asencio and Rodriguez will face off in the general election on November 6.

May biggest fundraising month yet for Gary Farmer

Democrat Gary Farmer just had his best fundraising month yet, earning more than $34,000 in contributions during May. That’s according to the latest information filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

Those impressive totals leave Farmer with more than $65,000 cash on hand. The incumbent senator representing Senate District 34 is running unopposed in his re-election bid.

The majority of donations to Farmer came from various law firms and attorneys throughout the state. Farmer, a longtime attorney himself, recently took a position at heavyweight law firm Morgan & Morgan.

Farmer easily won his first election in 2016, defeating his Republican opponent 63 percent to 37 percent. That earned him the SD 34 seat, which covers parts of Broward County including Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach and Hollywood.

Without a declared opponent and with a growing campaign chest, Farmer appears to be on his way to winning again in 2018.

He recently courted controversy, however, after comments regarding state Sen. Lauren Book. Farmer reportedly questioned Book’s ability to take on an increased leadership role due to her having two young children.

That comment was denounced by some of Farmer’s fellow Democrats. Farmer eventually apologized for his remarks.

Anna Eskamani

Anna Eskamani has more than $200K banked for HD 47 bid

Orlando Democrat Anna Eskamani now has more than $200,000 at the ready for her campaign to flip House District 47 blue.

Eskamani raised $21,850 for her campaign account last month and added another $500 through her political committee, People Power for Florida. Those totals bring her overall fundraising to more than $272,000 with $203,645 of that sum on hand.

The campaign funds came in across more than 300 contributions. More than 250 of those contributions were from small-dollar donors who pitched in $50 or less. However, Eskamani also pulled in 11 checks for $1,000, the maximum allowable contribution for state legislative candidates.

Those donors included CED Companies head Alan Ginsburg, attorney Michael Maher, OCI Consulting Engineers CEO Amir Kazeminia, art dealer Dennis DeVona, and political committees tied to the Florida Justice Association and Planned Parenthood. Eskamani is an executive with Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

People Power for Florida’s lone contribution came in from Brian Henties, the director of corporate sponsorships at Valencia College.

May spending totaled $5,650, half of which paid for campaign staff. The report also showed a $1,000 printing job with Orlando-based Print Meisters, $415 to Credo Conduit for rent, $320 to Democratic voter data group NGP VAN and $250 to campaign support platform You Should Run.

In all, Eskamani has raised $244,322 for her campaign account and had $178,493 in the bank heading into June, while the committee has raised $28,251 to date and has $25,151 on hand.

Also running for the north-central Orange County district is a pair of Republicans — Orlando attorney Mikaela Nix and Winter Park businessman Stockton Reeves, though neither had filed their May campaign finance reports as of Monday morning.

As of April 30, Reeves had raised $25,770 and kicked in another $94,700 in candidate loans. He has $105,584 on hand. Through the same date, Nix had raised $39,974 and loaned her campaign $2,600. She has $38,083.

HD 47 is currently held by Republican Rep. Mike Miller, who is running in a three-way Republican primary for Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

The seat has a slim Democratic advantage in voter registrations and it was held by current Democratic Sen. Linda Stuart before Miller edged her out by four points in the 2014 cycle. He followed that up with a 6-point win over Democrat Beth Tuura in 2016, when the seat voted plus-11 for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

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