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Lauren Baer and Pam Keith get some encouragement from new polling in the race against Brian Mast.


Lauren Baer raises $250K, Pam Keith $150K for CD 18 primary

Democratic congressional challenger Lauren Baer raised more than $250,000 and her Democratic rival Pam Keith raised $150,000 in the third quarter of 2017 for their battle to decide who might take on Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Brian Mast in Florida’s 18th Congressional District.

Yet combined the two Democrats did not raise as much during the quarter as Mast, who pulled in more than $411,000 in July, August and September.

The pair of Democrats, Bauer, a former senior U.S. State Department under President Barack Obama, and Keith, a labor lawyer who was an insurgent U.S. Senate candidate last year who surprised many with double-digit support in the three-way primary, are focusing on a Treasure Coast district that’s likely to be an intense battleground next year.

Mast has raised more than $1.5 million overall toward his re-election. His campaign also spent $294,000 during the quarter, giving him an early start on creating a campaign foundation for next year. That left him with $921,000 cash-on-hand on Oct. 1

He also already is drawing national support form outside groups. Those outside groups, for both parties, likely are to weigh in heavily next year in a district that Mast flipped, which the Democrats already are targeting as one they think they can win back.

Baer, did not enter the race until August 1, yet raised $250,156 from individuals, plus another $1,514 she contributed herself. That left her with more than $236,000 in the bank on Oct. 1.

Keith reported raising $150,000, which included $60,000 from herself, $85,000 from individuals, and $5,000 in political action committee money. Her campaign reported 800 individual donations from more than 400 individual donors, averaging just over $100 per contribution.

“While it is true that the hurricanes temporarily delayed fundraising efforts, I am in awe of how my supporters rallied to provide a strong close to the quarter. I am not now, nor will I ever be beholden to the moneyed donor class. This is truly a grassroots effort and we are just getting started. “ Keith stated in a news release. “What we’ve accomplished is truly remarkable and it shows that you don’t have to come from money, you don’t have to be a billionaire, and you don’t have to be famous to have people recognize that you are the real deal.”


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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