Rep. Frank Artiles has quickly raised hefty campaign account in his bid against incumbent Democrat Sen. Dwight Bullard last month. The Miami Republican brought in $209,669 during the month of March, despite a prohibition on fundraising during the Legislative Session that ended March 11.
Bullard had not reported his most recent totals as of Monday afternoon, but has raised $68,518 for his 2016 re-election bid so far.
The Artiles-Bullard fight in Miami-based SD 40 will likely be an expensive and hotly contested affair. Artiles’ campaign is one Republicans must win if they are to beat back a likely Democratic-leaning trend this year amid a presidential election cycle, while a win for Bullard is key for Democrats if they’re to capitalize on newly redrawn Senate district maps.
The majority of Artiles’ haul came in $1,000 chunks, the maximum contribution allowed for state legislative campaigns. PACs affiliated with fellow GOP members of the Legislature notably dotted the finance report, including from committees controlled by Senate President-to-be Wilton Simpson, Senate budget chief Tom Lee, and Republican Majority Leader Bill Galvano, plus several Adams Street and industry groups.
Major contributors to Bullard’s campaign include multiple trade union groups, as well as Tallahassee interests such as AT&T and Disney. Lobbyist Ron Book contributed $1,000 to both candidates through different accounts.
Bullard will enjoy a seat that favors Democrats somewhat and a more extensive political territory than he has represented in past years. The GOP money wave Artiles received last month, however, is likely to continue unabated until November.
Independent candidate Mario Jimenez is also in the race, running on a campaign platform focused on reforming the state’s family court and child custody laws. He has raised just $1,200 since filing this past August.