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Kelly Smith faces Randy Maggard in the House District 38 Special Election.


Kelly Smith needs to step up fundraising game for HD 38 special election

The Pasco County Democrat raised just $13,000.

Kelly Smith is going to have to start making some major progress on fundraising efforts if she’s going to have a shot at flipping House District 38 blue this June.

The Pasco County Democrat has raised just $13,000 for her bid to replace Danny Burgess in the Special Election June 18. Her opponent, Randy Maggard, has raised $170,000, according to the most recent campaign finance documents filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

Maggard spent most of his funds fighting through a Primary Election against far-right conservative David McCallister, but he still has $47,000 left in the bank. Smith has just $5,000.

Funding will be a significant issue for Smith this election. She’s running as a Democrat in a deep red district that hasn’t seen a Democrat elected to the Florida House this century, and then some. Smith will likely have to look outside her district for financial support.

During the most recent reporting period covering March, Smith tapped two Democratic groups in her district for contributions including $425 from the Trinity Democratic Club and $225 from the Pasco Democratic Club. She brought in one of the $500 contributions from the Florida Progressives Political Committee.

She didn’t raise a single top dollar contribution during that period.

Meanwhile, Maggard is raking in top dollar contributions from individuals and groups. Under Florida law, individuals and groups can only contribute $1,000 to candidates in state House races.

Maggard brought in $3,000 in contributions from Disney entities. The Wiregrass Porter family kicked in a total of $5,000 during March. The Ridge at Wiregrass Pasco County Association, Wiregrass Ranch and Wiregrass Irrigation also each contributed $1,000.

Maggard also received $1,000 from the Florida Chamber of Commerce and several thousand from various realtor groups.

Most of Maggard’s spending has gone to the consultant group Right Aim Media while Smith paid her consultant, Michael Newberger, $2,200 in March.

McCallister, the candidate Maggard defeated this week in the Republican Primary, raised a total of $92,000 for his failed campaign. Most of that came from his own pocket.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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