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Darren Soto draws $42K in big checks in closing weeks of CD 9 race

Democratic nominee Darren Soto has collected $42,200 in large checks for his bid to be elected in the Orlando-based Florida’s 9th Congressional District since he filed his last full campaign finance report stating he had raised $1 million overall and had $83,000 in the bank.

Soto’s opponent, Republican nominee Wayne Liebnitzky has neither the starting money nor any recent large contributions, according to 48-hour filing reports the campaigns must file on big checks since the Oct. 19 campaign finance reports were filed.

Soto, seeking to become Florida’s first Puerto Rican member of Congress and to succeed retiring Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, has collected 19 four-figure checks since Oct. 19, mostly from labor, business, and congressional leadership PACs.

They’ve included $5,000 each from political action committees representing the Service Employees International Union and the International Association of Firefighters; and $2,500 from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Nextera Energy, and the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers. He’s also gotten checks from a small handful of individuals, including $1,000 from retiring state Sen. Geraldine Thompson, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress herself in the neighboring Florida’s Congressional District 10, losing in the primary.

In addition, Soto is getting a little bit of outside help. The Immigrant Voters Win PAC reported, separately, it has invested $1,970 in mailers to support his election.

Liebnitzky’s Oct. 19 campaign finance report indicated he had raised $31,300 by that point and had $3,800 in the bank. He has not filed any 48-hour notices, indicating he has not received any four-figure checks in the last two weeks.

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 Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused.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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