Republican Will Robinson during the first weeks of September brought in more than five times as much as Democrat Tracy Platt, dimming hopes of an upset in Florida House District 71.
Robinson pulled in $25,925 in the reporting period, compared to $4,575 for Pratt. While Pratt holds a not-so-shabby $42,122 in cash on hand, Robinson dominates the race with $270,020.
The two Bradenton attorneys won their respective party nominations unopposed. Candidates run to succeed state Rep. Jim Boyd, who terms out this year.
Robinson had originally anticipated a primary against James Buchanan, an area Realtor and son of sitting U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, but ultimately the younger Buchanan tried to run in a special election in House District 72, and when that failed, Buchanan entered the Republican primary in District 74.
That left Robinson, an attorney at Blalock Williams and Manatee County native who thus far has run a low-key campaign stressing his community roots.
But Pratt has hoped to seize on a national discontent with Republican leadership and pull an upset much like state Rep. Margaret Good did in February when she beat Buchanan in the District 72 special election.
She has spoken at local panels put on by the Florida Education Association and promoting a small business environment.
Republicans make up 42 percent of registered voters in District 71, and Democrats make up 32 percent. That’s very close in demographics to Good’s District 72, where Republicans make up 42 percent of voters and Democrats make up 33 percent.
But in the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump won this district with 53 percent of the vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 42 percent, indicating the independent vote could lean further right.
Pratt already put in a $20,000 loan to her campaign, and Robinson put in $90,000.
Robinson has been spending more as well, reporting $8,723 in expenditures just in early September to Pratt’s $1,989. In total, the Republican has already spent $92,280 to the Democrat’s $19,350.