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Belinda Keiser, vice chancellor of Keiser University, playing loose with the facts.

South Florida

Belinda Keiser dumps another $200K in to SD 25 bid

After stocking her campaign account with a $500,000 loan in May, Belinda Keiser put another $200,000 down for her bid to succeed exiting Senate President Joe Negron in Senate District 25.

Keiser, a Democrat-turned-Republican who lives 80 miles away from the Treasure Coast district, brought in just $21,775 in outside money.

Her donors included the Florida Police Benevolent Association and lobby firm Colodny Fass as well as various individuals and businesses, many of them from out of state and only one of them from within SD 25. That lone contribution was a $250 check from J & P Macarthur Inc. of Hobe Sound.

Keiser also spent more than $300,000 last month, including $196,000 on media placement through Southern Campaign Resources and $64,000 on mailers through Clearwater-based Direct Mail Systems. She finished the June 1 through June 22 reporting period with $432,890 in the bank, including the $700,000 in loans.

Stuart Rep. Gayle Harrell is Keiser’s main competition in the Republican primary, though Dr. Joe Smith of West Palm Beach also qualified for the ballot.

Harrell showed $44,855 in fundraising and $12,326 in spending in her new report. Her donors included lobby firm Becker & Poliakoff and numerous political committees, including ones tied Republican Sen. Aaron Bean and Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues.

Expenditures included more than $5,600 in payments to Jupiter-based Public Concepts for printing and advertising expenses. Since filing for the seat in October 2017 — well before Negron’s announcement he would leave two years early — Harrell has raised $69,285 and kicked in another $100,000 in loans. She finished the reporting period with $156,421 on hand.

The only income listed in Smith’s report, his first since filing, was a $5,000 loan. Meanwhile, the lone Democrat in the race, Robert Levy, raised $4,125 and spent nearly $14,000.

His contributions included a $1,000 checks from Stuart artist John Longmaid and Winter Park animal care worker Nicole Taylor. His spending included $6,500 for campaign staff and $5,000 for consulting from Washington-based Jones & Associates.

Since filing in February, he has raised $13,650 and loaned his campaign another $150,000. He had $93,500 on hand on June 22.

SD 25 includes the whole of Martin and St. Lucie counties, as well as part of Palm Beach County. The special election to replace Negron will be held concurrently with the 2018 midterm elections. The primary is Aug. 28 and the general election is Nov. 6.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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