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Senate candidates boost campaign coffers despite running unopposed

They might be running unopposed, but that isn’t stopping Florida Senate candidates from raking in the campaign cash.

Campaign finance reports were due Monday. And while there’re several hotly contested races this election cycle, candidates in 19 of the state’s 40 Senate districts are running unopposed. But that isn’t stopping them building up their campaign coffers.

Senate District 5 —Sen. Rob Bradley has created one of the largest campaign war chests this election cycle. The Fleming Island Republican is running unopposed and has raised $466,606 since filing to run for re-election in January 2013. Bradley didn’t raise any money in March and ended the month with $378,857 cash on hand.

 Senate District 26 — Sen. Denise Grimsley may be running unopposed, but she has built up quite the campaign account just in case anyone else decides to jump into the Senate District 26 race. Grimsley didn’t raise any money in March, but state records show she has raised $370,000 since filing to run for re-election in February 2013.

Senate District 16 — Sen. Jack Latvala filed to run for re-election well before the Florida Supreme Court redrew the state’s 40 state Senate districts. Since then, Latvala has raised $275,552 toward his re-election campaign. The Clearwater Republican raised $10,450 in March and ended the one-month fundraising period with $229,417 cash on hand.

Senate District 18 — Dana Young decided to forgo re-election to the Florida House, instead throwing her hat in the Senate District 18 race. Since jumping into the contest, the House Majority Leader has raised $264,687. She raised $167 in March and ended the month with $215,421 cash on hand.

Senate District 22 — Sen. Kelli Stargel didn’t raise any money during March, but her campaign account is far from empty. Stargel has raised $232,000 since filing to run for re-election in February 2013. She ended March with $206,212 cash on hand.

Senate District 3 — Sen. Bill Montford is the only Senate Democrat who has raised more than $200,000 since announcing his bid for re-election. Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat, has raised $225,695 since January 2013. He raised $500 in March and ended the month with $176,000 cash on hand.

Senate District 2 — Republican George Gainer hasn’t been running unopposed for long. In March, Rep. Matt Gaetz announced he was running for Congress instead of Senate District 2. That means Gainer has built up a substantial campaign account, raising $206,625 since jumping into the race. Shortly after jumping into the race in September, Gainer gave his campaign a $500,000 loan. State records show raised $17,995 in March and ended the reporting period with $488,207 cash on hand.

On 3 Public Relations compiled the state Senate campaign finance data.

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