Lauren Baer tops $1M banked for CD 18 campaign, Brian Mast nears $2M

Lauren Baer

Democratic candidate Lauren Baer has cleared seven figures in the bank for her campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast in Florida’s 18th Congressional District.

Baer’s campaign said it will report more than $500,000 raised in its second-quarter campaign finance report and show more than $1 million in the bank, an increase of $300,000 over her reserves at the end of the first quarter.

The performance also bests her $450,000 report for Q1 and makes for more than $1.5 million in campaign funds raised to-date.

“I’m in awe of the outpouring of support we have received since launching our campaign in September,” Baer said. “Thank you to everyone who has donated, knocked on doors, made phone calls, and registered voters. This campaign will always be about you and your interests, not special interests, and together we will be victorious in November.”

The former senior official in the Obama administration added that the new cash was raised without taking a dime from corporate PACs. She pledged to decline such contributions in February.

Baer faces former Navy JAG Pam Keith in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary for CD 18, which covers all of St. Lucie and Martin counties as well as northeastern Palm Beach County, including Tequesta, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and part of West Palm Beach.

Keith has not yet announced her second-quarter fundraising numbers, though she had raised $358,500 through the end of March with $50,000 in the bank.

Mast, who is only nominally opposed in the Republican primary, also announced Tuesday that he’d hit a high watermark in the second-quarter with more than $1 million raised.

“Congressman Mast’s laser-like focus on the issues that matter most to our community — water quality, protecting Medicare, lower taxes and supporting veterans — are driving incredibly strong grassroots support. While other candidates have been forced to choose hyper-partisanship in pursuit of Nancy Pelosi’s support, Congressman Mast’s independence and leadership continue to deliver results for our community,” said campaign spokesman Brad Stewart.

The announcement indicated Mast had nearly $2 million in the bank at the end of June, a major increase from his $1.5 million on-hand tally at the end of the first quarter.

CD 18 is a top target for a “blue-wave” flip in the fall, with only CD 26 and CD 27 outranking it on Florida Democrat’s priority list.

Though the district voted plus-9 for Donald Trump in 2016, it was held by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy for two terms before he gave it up to run for U.S. Senate last cycle. University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato‘s “Crystal Ball” currently lists CD 18 as “likely Republican” in the fall.

Drew Wilson

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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