Kelli Stargel Archives - Florida Politics

No flip in Senate District 22; Kelli Stargel wins

Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland held off a strong state Democratic Party effort to flip her Florida Senate District 22 blue by defeating retired circuit judge Robert Doyel, a Winter Haven Democrat. The district had become an unexpected highly competitive race.

The final results were Stargel with 105,475 votes or 53 percent of ballots cast and 94,148 votes for Doyel or 47 percent of the vote.

SD 22, which includes northern Polk and the southwestern section of Lake counties, was one of six Republican Senate seats which the state Democratic Party had determined as likely to be flipped.

SD 22 has 348,632 registered voters. Democrats account 126,546 of the voters or 36.3 percent and Republicans have 117,337 voters in the district for 33.6 percent. Voters who are registered as no party affiliation or in third parties number 104,749 or 30.1 of all voters in District 22.

Doyel had run unsuccessfully for a House seat in eastern Polk County in 2016.

Doyel served 16 years on the 10th Judicial Circuit bench before retiring in 2010. But has remained involved with social issues and family issues. He is the author of “The Baby Mama Syndrome,” a book dealing with the problems of unwed teenage mothers.

Stargel had raised a campaign fund of $562,518 in campaign cash with another $435,790 of in-kind contributions. Doyle had raised $270,890 with $159,90 of in-kind contributions. The warchests were a record for both parties in this district. In-kind contributions were largely party campaign help and advertising.

In the August Democratic Primary for the Senate seat, Doyel defeated former state Rep. Ricardo Rangel garnering 66 percent of the vote.

At the time of his win in the Democratic Primary, Doyle said he was worried not to have had a higher percentage because Rangel had campaigned very little in the Democratic Primary race.

Stargel, a 10-year veteran of the Florida Legislature and a conservative stalwart in Senate leadership had plenty of support from fellow Republicans in the Senate and at home in Polk County which has the majority of voters in SD 22.

She was first elected to the Florida House in 2008 and ran for the Senate in 2012 when Paula stepped down. Although renumbered to SD 22, a Republican has represented the area for decades.

Stargel had been targeted by Democrats by her support of the state budget which opponents said shortchanged education and took money from public schools for the private charter schools. The Republican-designed budget especially penalized schools in low-income neighborhoods, they argued.

Stargel said the budget provided a $100 increase in per-student funding, which was “unprecedented.” The increases were also not restricted to state mandates and can be spent for districts’ priorities. On her support of charter schools, Stargel argued that the state must guarantee parental choice for education.

Both candidates had been attacked targets from third-party groups working to boost their own candidate.

Big legislative races scattered throughout state

When it comes to Florida legislative races, as with most things in politics, follow the money.

Dozens of House and Senate seats are on Tuesday’s ballot, but many — maybe even most — are not competitive because of factors such as incumbency and the makeup of districts.

One way to find the big races, however, is to look at where campaign cash is flowing. Donors, party leaders and political operatives don’t like to toss away money on lost causes. With that in mind, here are some of the races to watch Tuesday in various regions of the state:

Tampa Bay 

The Tampa Bay area features two of the most closely watched Senate races, including in Hillsborough County’s District 18, where Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young is trying to fend off a challenge from Tampa Democratic House Minority Leader Janet Cruz. The pair combined to raise nearly $1.5 million for their campaign accounts — and that doesn’t factor in boatloads of outside money.

The other high-profile Senate race pits former Rep. Ed Hooper, a Clearwater Republican, and former Rep. Amanda Murphy, a New Port Richey Democrat, who are competing for an open seat in Senate District 16 in Pinellas and Pasco counties.

House races to watch in the region include Rep. Shawn Harrison, a Tampa Republican, trying to hold onto his seat against well-funded Democrat Fentrice Driskell in Hillsborough’s House District 63 and Republican Ray Blacklidge and Democrat Jennifer Webb battling for an open seat in Pinellas County’s House District 69.

Sarasota County

Because of a combination of term limits and lawmakers seeking different offices, Sarasota County has four open House and Senate seats that will be filled Tuesday.

But the big-money race in Sarasota County pits two familiar figures: state Rep. Margaret Good, a Sarasota Democrat, and former Republican Rep. Ray Pilon, also of Sarasota. Good, who drew national attention last year when she won a special election in Republican-leaning House District 72, raised a whopping $542,000 for her re-election campaign. Pilon raised nearly $173,000 for his comeback bid.

Miami-Dade County

For Democrats and Republicans, two Senate races in Miami-Dade are about holding on to seats. Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Miami Democrat, won a fierce special election for Democrats last year in Senate District 40 and now faces a challenge from well-funded Republican Marili Cancio.

Meanwhile, with Sen. Rene Garcia, a Hialeah Republican, leaving office because of term limits, the GOP has poured money into efforts to elect Republican Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., also of Hialeah, in Senate District 36. Diaz raised nearly $689,000 for his campaign and received $468,000 in in-kind contributions. Democrat David Perez, by comparison, raised $164,000 and received $103,000 in in-kind contributions.

Miami-Dade also has numerous House races, including Democratic Rep. Robert Asencio facing a challenge from Republican Anthony Rodriguez in District 118. Also, Republican Rep. Holly Raschein, of Key Largo, raised $413,000 as she tries to win another term against Democrat Steve Friedman in District 120, which includes part of Miami-Dade and all of Monroe County.

Broward and Palm Beach

While Broward County is a Democratic stronghold, Rep. George Moraitis, a Fort Lauderdale Republican, managed to keep his House seat for the past eight years. Now, with Moraitis facing term limits, Republican Chip LaMarca raised nearly $591,000 as he tries to maintain the GOP’s hold on House District 93. Democrat Emma Collum raised about $188,000.

Up the coast, Republicans also are trying to keep control of Palm Beach County’s House District 89, which is open because Republican Rep. Bill Hager faces term limits. Republican Mike Caruso raised nearly $225,000 and loaned $204,000 to his campaign as he won a primary and ran in the general election. Democrat Jim Bonfiglio raised $75,000 and loaned $296,000 to his campaign — including $106,000 in loans in October.

Central Florida

Democrats have made steady gains in the Orlando area in recent years, and they are pinning their hopes on House candidate Anna Eskamani picking up a seat Tuesday. Eskamani raised about $451,000 for her campaign in House District 47 to replace Rep. Mike Miller, a Winter Park Republican who is running for Congress. Eskamani’s opponent, Republican Stockton Reeves, raised $170,000.

Democrats this year have also made noise about trying to knock off Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, in Senate District 22 in Lake and Polk counties. Stargel raised nearly $563,000 for the race, while Democrat Bob Doyel raised about $271,000.

Another Central Florida Senate race to watch Tuesday is in District 14 in Volusia and Brevard counties. The district is Republican-friendly territory, but Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Port Orange Republican, died last month of cancer. That led to the late entry of Republican Tommy Wright to run against Democrat Melissa Martin.

North Florida

From the Panhandle to the Atlantic Coast, North Florida has relatively few high-profile legislative races. But the biggest-ticket race has been in Senate District 8, where Sen. Keith Perry, a Gainesville Republican, is trying to hold off a challenge from Democrat Kayser Enneking. The pair combined to raise nearly $1.5 million for their campaign accounts in a race that also has drawn large amounts of outside money. The district includes Democrat-heavy Gainesville but also is made up of conservative rural areas in Alachua, Putnam and Marion counties.

Perhaps the most-competitive House race in North Florida is in Jacksonville, where Republican Wyman Duggan and Democrat Tracye Ann Polson are battling in House District 15, which became open when Rep. Jay Fant, a Jacksonville Republican, decided against seeking re-election. Duggan and Polson have combined to raise more than $600,000, with Polson also loaning $180,000 to the campaign.


Florida Retailers endorse 10 incumbent senators for re-election

The Florida Retail Federation on Tuesday endorsed nine incumbent Republican state Senators and one incumbent Democrat for re-election in the fall.

Making the trade association’s general election list were Republican Sens. Dennis Baxley, Aaron Bean, George Gainer, Tom Lee, Kathleen Passidomo, Keith Perry, Wilton Simpson, Kelli Stargel, and Dana Young, as well as Democratic Sen. Bobby Powell.

“Florida’s retail industry is vital to the success of our state, and for our industry and our members to be successful we need legislative leaders who can help ensure Florida remains a retail- and business-friendly state,” said FRF president and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “These Senators have been supportive of retail during their time as legislators, and we look forward to working with each of them when they return to the Florida Senate.”

Many of the same lawmakers were issued solo endorsements earlier in the 2018 cycle — Bean, Baxley, and Passidomo each picked up FRF endorsements in June, while Young got the nod in July and Gainer’s re-election recommendation came along in mid-August.

FRF has also endorsed former Clearwater Republican Rep. Ed Hooper, who is competing against former New Port Richey Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy to take over the vacant SD 16.

Most of the incumbents endorsed by the Florida Retail Federation on Tuesday are primed for re-election in three weeks, though Perry, Stargel, and Young are each running for another term in a seat being targeted by the Florida Democratic Party.

Recent polling shows Perry, first elected in 2016, has a double-digit edge over Democratic challenger Kayser Enneking in the SD 8 race, while Stargel is up 12 points over retired circuit court judge Bob Doyel in SD 22.

Young, however, is in a tight race with House Minority Leader Janet Cruz in SD 18. The most recent poll of the race shows Cruz with a slim advantage in the northwestern Hillsborough district, which covers much of Tampa. Prior polls have shown the two women jockeying in the purple district.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Fresh poll: Kelli Stargel leads Bob Doyel by 12 points in SD 22

A new poll of the Senate District 22 race shows state Sen. Kelli Stargel has nearly doubled her lead over Democratic nominee Bob Doyel compared to a month ago.

A new St. Pete Polls survey, conducted Oct. 13-14, found the Lakeland Republican leading Doyel 52-40 percent with 8 percent of voters undecided. That margin was consistent among the 19 percent of voters who said they had already turned in their ballot as well as the 81 percent of voters who said they planned to vote but have not done so yet.

The new results come four weeks after St. Pete Polls last polled the district and show a statistically significant gain for Stargel as well as some minor slippage for Doyel, a retired circuit court judge. The month-old poll pegged the race at 48-41 percent, advantage Stargel.

The Doyel campaign has circulated internal polls showing him leading Stargel, however, those now-stale numbers were never corroborated by any public poll of the race.

Doyel has a little room for growth among the Democratic base, 12 percent of which is still undecided. About 18 percent of Democrats are leaning toward Stargel, however, which is considerable due registered Dems making up a plurality of the Polk County-based district’s electorate.

Likely Republicans voters are in lockstep, preferring Stargel 84-10 percent. Third- and no-party voters are also tilting toward the incumbent by a near 20-point margin.

There’s more good news for Stargel, first elected in 2012, further down the poll. She’s the pick for the majority men, women, white and Hispanic voters, Millennials, Gen Xers and younger Baby Boomers

Doyel, for his part, held a 4-point lead among voters over 70 years old and posted strong results among the few black respondents polled, though black voters only make up about 14 percent of SD 22’s voting age population according to U.S. Census data.

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.

In the 2016 cycle, Stargel beat underfunded Democrat Debra Wright by a touchdown while President Donald Trump carried the Central Florida seat by nearly the same margin.

Though Doyel has overperformed past Democratic nominees in fundraising, Stargel’s campaign and committee accounts are as flush with cash as ever, and she’s also received significant backup from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, a well-stocked Republican Party-affiliated committee chaired by incoming Senate President Bill Galvano.

To date, Stargel has raised $487,000 in hard money and had $138,250 banked on Oct. 5. She also has $263,000 ready to deploy in her affiliated PAC, Limited Govt for a Stronger Florida Political Committee.

Doyel’s early October finance reports brought him up to $431,000 in total fundraising — $212,500 hard and 218,600 soft. On Oct. 5, the Winter Haven Democrat had $210,500 banked between his campaign account and affiliated political committee, Bring Back Democracy.

Florida Democrats are hoping the so-called ‘blue wave’ can put it and other Republican-held Senate seats in their column come November, though poll results in SD 22 and other targeted districts show waning odds that Democrats can force a tie or take the majority in the state Senate, where Republicans hold a 23-16 advantage with one vacancy.

The St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, was conducted via an automated phone call polling system. It received responses from 503 registered voters who said they planned to vote in the general election. The sample was 38 percent Democrats, 38 percent Republicans and 24 percent independents.

The top-line results have a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

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.

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.

Robert Doyel defeats Ricardo Rangel in SD 22 Democratic primary

Retired Circuit Judge Robert Doyel of Winter Haven defeated former state Rep. Ricardo Rangel of Osceola County to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for Florida Senate District 22.

The unofficial vote tally was 20,770 for Doyel, or 66 percent of votes cast, to 10,672, or 34 percent, for Rangel.

“I am happy with the outcome, but not resting,” the Doyle said. ” I will continue to run 12 hours a day, seven days a week until I get to Tallahassee.”

The Doyel campaign early on had broadcast that he collected the required signatures from 3,321 voters in Senate District 22 to qualify for the ballot without having to pay a filing fee.

The exercise was not so much to avoid the filing fee but to show he had a wide range of support, a consultant said.

Doyel did not campaign specifically against Rangel. In fact, he ignored him and instead campaigned heatedly against incumbent Republican State Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland, who he now will meet in the general election Nov. 6.

The state Democratic Party has listed Senate District 22 as “viable” and sent assistance down for Doyel.

An internal poll conducted earlier this month showed Doyel with a 5-percentage point lead over Stargel. A Democratic Party official working with the campaign said they didn’t bother with tallies in a head-to-head with Rangel because his recognition factor from those surveyed never went above 20 percent.

Doyel served 16 years on the 10th Judicial Circuit bench before retiring in 2010. But has remained involved with social issues and family issues. He is the author of “The Baby Mama Syndrome,” a book dealing with the problems of unwed teenage mothers.

Rangel, who like Doyel is a military veteran had listed an Auburndale address for his campaign headquarters but would not confirm where he lived. He represented northern Osceola County for a two-year term 2012-2014.

Florida Senate District 22 covers most of northern Polk and southern half of Lake counties.

Poll gives Robert Doyel a 5-point lead over Kelli Stargel in battleground SD 22

Retired Circuit Judge Robert Doyel has the largest competitive edge of any of the six Republican-held Senate seats specifically targeted by the Florida Democratic Party, according to a recent internal survey.

The Winter Haven Democrat is running for Senate District 22, which covers northern Polk County and southern Lake County and is currently held by Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel.

The Florida Democratic Party’s internal poll numbers show Doyel has a higher name recognition in his district than any other Democratic Senate candidate in a targeted race at 54 percent — that means higher than House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, higher than former state Rep. Amanda Murphy and higher than Gainesville physician Kayser Enneking, who started hitting TV last week.

The internal survey also shows Doyel with a 5 percent advantage over Stargel, 45-40 percent, giving him the heretofore biggest lead among the six contested races. The only recent public poll showing one of the six targeted candidates with a lead came in SD 18 early last month, where Cruz held a 1-point lead over Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young, 44-43 percent.

The random sample poll was conducted July 23-26 and took responses from 402 likely voters from all parties and results were statistically adjusted to mirror the demographics of the district.

Unlike Stargel, Doyel has to get past a primary challenger in two weeks, however, the poll didn’t give a window on his chances in that contest.

Doyel faces former state Rep. Ricardo Rangel, who represented Osceola County from 2012 through 2014. His campaign headquarters is listed as Auburndale which, unlike his former stomping grounds, is within SD 22. Still, he has been a no-show from many forums and campaign events.

In addition to District 22, the state party is targeting Gainesville-based SD 8, Pinellas and Pasco-based SD 16, Tampa-based SD 18, St. Petersburg-based SD 24 and Hialeah-based SD 36. In each instance, party officials have determined that the seats are winnable by a Democrat, though only SD 18 and SD 36 were carried by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Party officials added that the bright polling for Doyel may help him boost his fundraising numbers over the next few weeks as large institutional donors have their doubts assuaged and begin to see his potential for success in November.

As of Aug. 3, Stargel had about $425,000 banked between her campaign account and an affiliated political committee, Limited Govt for a Stronger Florida. Doyel, meanwhile, has raised $125,215 in campaign funds and has $73,212 at the ready, followed by Rangel with $6,145 raised and pennies in the bank.

Denise Grimsley scores 32 endorsements from current and former lawmakers

Agriculture Commissioner candidate Denise Grimsley got the nod from a large contingency of her colleagues in the Florida Legislature Monday, adding another 32 backers just days after she announced three dozen endorsements from local elected officials from all corners of the Sunshine State.

Grimsley, a Sebring Republican, has been a member of the state Legislature since 2004, first as a member of the Florida House and, since 2012, as a member of the Florida Senate. She currently represents District 26, which covers all of DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties as well as parts of Charlotte, Lee and Polk counties.

The bulk nod included a baker’s dozen of backers who are currently serving alongside Grimsley: Sens. Dennis Baxley, Aaron Bean, Anitere Flores, George Gainer, Rene Garcia, Dorothy Hukill, Debbie Mayfield, David Simmons, Kelli Stargel and Reps. Sam Killebrew, Cary Pigman, Elizabeth Porter and Charlie Stone

The nine current senators announced today join incoming Senate President Bill Galvano and Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, making for half of the Republican Senators not named “Grimsley” backing her campaign. Grimsley’s chief rival in the Republican primary, Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell, has landed loads of support from his House colleagues, but has only earned one endorsement from a sitting Republican Senator: St. Pete Sen. Jeff Brandes.

Also adding their names to the pile were 19 former lawmakers, all but five of whom served alongside Grimsley for at least a couple years of her tenure in Tallahassee, including former House Speakers Allan Bense, Dean Cannon, Larry Cretul, H. Lee Moffitt; former Sens. Ellyn Bogdanoff, Charlie Dean, Pat Neal and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla; as well as former Reps. Kim Berfield, Marti Coley, Faye Culp, Frank Farkas, Mark Flanagan, James Frishe, Kurt Kelly, Dick Kravitz, Dave Murzin, Mark Ogles and Joseph Spratt.

“During my time in the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives, I have met or worked with many of these Senators and Representatives while serving our Sunshine State,” Grimsley said. “We have worked together to make this the best state in the nation to live, work and play; and, I am grateful for their support of my campaign.

“With my diverse background raising cattle, growing citrus, helping people, running a business and managing a budget, paired with my dedication to solving problems that face Florida, I know I am the most qualified and best candidate in this race; and, I look forward to the opportunity to continue my work serving Floridians as their Commissioner of Agriculture,” she said.

Grimsley has surged in endorsements over the past several weeks. Outside of the 66 endorsements she’s announced since Friday, she has the support of 36 current county sheriffs — seven Democratic and 29 Republican — as well as numerous statewide organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, Florida Professional Firefighter, Florida Realtors and the Florida Medical Association, among many others.

Caldwell and Grimsley are running alongside retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman in the Republican primary.

Through Aug. 3, Grimsley leads in true fundraising with $2.65 million in outside cash raised since she entered the race in February 2017. She also currently holds the cash lead with more than $1.1 million in the bank between her campaign account and two political committees, Saving Florida’s Heartland and Let’s Grow Florida.

Caldwell, meanwhile, has also broken the $2 million mark since entering the race in April 2017 and had a little over $1 million in the bank at last check-in.

Troutman, however, has pumped $3 million into his campaign fund and raised about $500,000, though his high burn rate has left him with just $322,500 on hand as of Aug. 3. McCalister, for his part, has raised just $22,604, including nearly $19,000 in candidate loans.

The winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary will move on to November when they’ll face one of three Democrats: Nikki FriedJeffrey Porter or Roy David Walker.

Poll: Bob Doyel slightly edges incumbent Kelli Stargel in Senate District 22

A poll released by the state Senate campaign of retired Circuit Judge Robert Doyel, a Winter Haven Democrat, shows him edging Republican incumbent Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland in the November general election for the Republican-leaning District 22.

The poll shows a preference of 45 percent for Doyel to 40 percent for Stargel with 15 percent undecided if the election were held today. With a margin of error of 4.9 percent, however, the results are just barely out of a statistical tie.

Asked if they wanted to re-elect Stargel or someone else, the poll said 33 percent of the voters want Stargel re-elected, 39 percent said they they’d vote for someone else, and 28 percent said they didn’t know.

The district breakdown is 42 percent Republican to 38 percent Democrats.

The poll results do not show a Democratic primary matchup versus Ricardo Rangel, who lists his address as Auburndale, but who served a term in Florida House from Osceola County.

Doyel and Stargel are each well known by 54 percent of the voters who were surveyed.

Asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable view of each candidate, 37 percent of the voters surveyed said that they had a favorable view of Doyel while 17 percent said unfavorable with the remainder as undecided or no answer.

While voters were not asked their reasons for their favorable or unfavorable views, Stargel has taken hits recently by school board members and teachers for the Republican legislators’ actions on school policies and funding,

The race has been identified as a priority by the Florida Democratic Party of Florida and has brought funding and advice from the state party, not seen in the area in many years. It is still the only race in Senate or House districts anchored in Polk County in which the state party has taken a direct interest.

The random telephone poll of 402 likely voters in the November General Election in Senate District 22, was conducted July 23-26. It was conducted by Kevin Akins of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research.

The poll included an oversample of 50 voters in the Lake County portion of the district to bring the results up to a measurable proportion. It also included a party breakdown in proportion to the voters in the district, 43 percent Republican, 36 percent Democrat 21 percent No Party Affiliation or Other.

Polling included the use of both landline and cellphone numbers. Pollsters said the poll results were weighted to reflect the traditional 7 percent GOP turnout advantage.

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