Lori Berman dominates fundraising in SD 31 primary

Lori Berman

Democratic state Rep. Lori Berman added to her commanding lead in the race to take over for former Sen. Jeff Clemens in Senate District 31 with more than $100,000 raised between Dec. 15 and Jan. 25.

Berman’s $106,716 haul brings her campaign account to $366,101 in total fundraising, including $100,000 in loans, and she had $233,803 of that money on hand at the end of the reporting period. Berman’s political committee, Friends of Lori Berman, didn’t report any new contributions but had about $113,000 on hand at the end of December.

The new money came in across more than 200 contributions, the bulk of which came in from small-dollar donors who chipped in less than half of the $1,000 maximum contribution for state Senate campaigns.

Berman also brought 85 checks for the max contribution, including contributions from the Florida AFL-CIO, Publix, utility company Duke Energy, several branches of hospital group HCA, and a slew of lobbyists and firms such as Ron Book, Colodny Fass and Meenan.

Expenditures for the reporting period totaled $61,910, with Cornerstone Solutions Florida getting the nearly $14,000 of that sum for consulting work. West Palm Beach-based Get Out the Signs received $12,156 for advertising, followed by Johnson Campaigns at $8,500.

Berman is up against Arthur Morrison in the Tuesday Democratic Primary for the seat, the winner of which will face Republican Tami Donnally in the April 10 special general election.

Morrison showed no contributions during the 40-day reporting period, and has raised a total of $10,040 since entering the race on Nov. 14. He had $7,643 in the bank as of Jan. 25. Donnally showed $3,755 raised in her most recent report, bringing her to-date total to $9,886 with a little over $4,000 on hand.

SD 31 opened up in late October when Clemens resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair with a lobbyist. Florida Democrats filed a lawsuit aiming to get an earlier special election date so a new senator would be in place for at least part of the 2018 Legislative Session, but their attempts were unsuccessful.

Democrats hold a sizable majority in the district, giving the winner of the Tuesday primary race a near insurmountable advantage and taking the seat in April.

The winner of the special election would serve the remainder of the term Clemens won in 2016, which runs through Election Day 2020.

TAGS: Lori Berman, Jeff Clemens, Friends of Lori Berman, Arthur Morrison, Tami Donnally, Senate District 31, SD 31, SD 31 Special Election

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704