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Democrats struggle to fundraise against Dennis Ross for 2018

Democrats in Florida’s 15th Congressional District think Republican Dennis Ross could be vulnerable in his quest for re-election in 2018.

What else can explain why no fewer than six Democrats have already filed to run against the Polk County incumbent next year?

Even with a full year until the midterms, Ross certainly isn’t taking anything for granted, raising more than $136,000 in the third quarter of this year. He now has more than $269,000 cash on hand for his re-election bid.

Meanwhile, Navy veteran and educator Andrew Learned led the fundraising among Democrats over the past three months, bringing in $7,333. He now has $12,861 total cash on hand.

Greg Pilkington, a 54-year-old from Indian Lakes Estates, raised $2,435 over the past three months. He has all of $210 cash on hand.

No other Democrat has done much on the fundraising front. Insurance broker Cameron Magnuson raised just $205 in the third quarter, and has raised a total of $3,297.

Former police officer and criminal investigator Ray Pena Jr. raised just $257 in the third quarter, and shows a negative cash on hand balance of $2,656.

No FECC data was available on the other Democrat in the race, Greg Williams.

Jeffrey Rabinowitz, who originally filed as a non-party-affiliated candidate, then switched to the Democratic primary, is no longer listed as a candidate, according to FEC records.

There is one Republican challenging Ross, Loretta Miller. She raised $1,525 in the past quarter, and has $1,530 cash on hand.

Florida’s CD 15 encompasses parts of Hillsborough, Polk and Lake Counties.

Last November, Ross defeated Democrat Jim Lange by 16 percentage points.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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