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PAC money now flooding into CD 7 race

U.S. Rep. John Mica and his Democratic opponent Stephanie Murphy now are getting showered with many tens of thousands of dollars in political action committee money heading into the final days before their showdown in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

In the past seven days, from Oct. 26 through Nov. 1, Mica’s campaign reported receiving 52 checks from political action committees and another 19 from individuals who all contributed at least $1,000 towards his re-election campaign. Total draw during that week of reports on big checks: $138,000.

Murphy had a similar week but only drew about half as much money, partly because she received fewer checks, and partly because hers tended to be smaller than those going to Mica. Her 48-hour reports from Oct. 26 through Nov. 1 filed with the Federal Election Commission showed she collected 43 checks of at least $1,000, and 33 of those came from political action committees. Overall, those checks put $70,400 into her campaign.

Overall, Mica has had and continues to have a big lead over Murphy in official campaign money raised, though the two finished the most recent complete report with about the same amount left in the bank. Through Oct. 19, the last date for which full reports are available, Mica had raised $1.4 million and had $167,000 in the bank. Murphy, who didn’t start her campaign until late June, had raised $777,000 and had $174,000 in the bank on Oct. 19.

Yet that tells only a small and misleading part of the story of who is financing the CD 7 contest.

Both campaigns, especially Murphy’s, are being bolstered by huge sums of money being spent by outside groups trying to influence the race in CD 7, which covers Seminole County and north-central and northeast Orange County. A variety of national Democratic and state Democratic groups had spent more than $4.6 million through Monday to support Murphy. Republican groups and political action committees such as the National Rifle Association’s had spent about $1 million supporting Mica through Monday.

The latest 48-hour reports show Mica’s recent surge in PAC backing has come mainly from a mix of business PACs and leadership PACs and campaigns for other Republicans in Congress, who are pitching in to help out their longtime colleague. They’ve included $5,000 checks from such groups as the Florida Health PAC, the PETE Pac, the New York Life PAC, Prosperity American PAC, the and the Speed PAC.

Unlike Murphy, Mica in the past week also reported a handful of big checks from individuals who actually live in the district, though they are a small part of his recent fundraising. Several members of the Holler family of Winter Park each wrote $2,700 checks for him, and a half dozen other people reporting addresses in Seminole County, Maitland, Winter Park, or Orlando also wrote four-figure checks to his campaign.

Murphy’s big checks are coming mainly from labor union PACs and leadership PACs and campaigns for other Democrats in Congress, eager to get her in to join them. Among her biggest are $5,000 checks from the Amalgamated Transit Union, Democratic U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton‘s Serve America PAC, and the Communication Workers of America PAC. In her latest 48-hour reports, she reported receiving only one $2,000 check from an individual who reported an address in the district.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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