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Kaylee Tuck, Ned Hancock

SW Florida

Money flowing in GOP primary for HD 55

Kaylee Tuck holds money lead over Ned Hancock.

A Florida House district race in Sebring has quickly turned into an expensive contest.

In June, land-use attorney Kaylee Tuck reported $43,375 in contributions, as well as a $5,000 candidate loan. Meanwhile, citrus grower Ned Hancock posted $20,575 in the same month. For both Republican candidates, June marked the first reporting period raising money.

Both want the Republican nomination in House District 55. Tuck filed for the office on Jun 4. Hancock jumped in on June 12.

The 25-year-old Tuck now holds the financial advantage in the race.

Her contributions include money from some high-profile Republicans who already announced their support, developer Pat Neal and former U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney.

There’s also a number of significant donations from agriculture players in the region, including $1,000 checks from Greenfield Bamboo in Wachula, Citrus Solutions in Zolfo Springs and Southern Citrus Industries in Dundee.

J.L. Nunn Enterprises, a Lake Placid pharmaceuticals company, also chipped in, as did Natural Ag Solutions, a manufacturing company in Sebring.

She also tapped into political committee donations, with contributions reported by the Jack Latvala-affiliated committees Twenty First Century Florida and the Chris Latvala-led Suncoast Better Government.

Of course, Hancock tapped plenty of sources in the agriculture world as well.

Fellow citrus professionals like John Barben and Charles Hansen donated to his campaign.

Poachers Hammock and Dixie Belle Groves in Sebring both donated $1,000 a piece to his campaign.

McKenna Harvesting in Lake Wales also donated $1,000, as did affiliated company McKenna Brothers. That was in addition to another $1,000 donation from owner Marty McKenna.

In the political arena, political consultant Martin Fiorentino, of Ponte Vedra Beach, dropped $1,000 into Hancock’s campaign, as did The Fiorentino Group. Neptune Beach political consultant John Delaney also donated.

Tony Munnings Sr., Democratic state committeeman for Highlands County, filed in May but reported no fundraising activity through June.

Candidates are running to succeed Rep. Cary Pigman, a Sebring Republican who can’t seek reelection thanks to term limits.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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