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The legislative campaign finance reports we can’t wait to see — Part 2

Here’s the second half of the legislative campaign finance reports we can’t wait to see over the next two weeks.

Now that we’ve taken a gander at the latest numbers for Florida congressional candidates, let’s turn our attention to fundraising in state legislative races now that we’re essentially a year out from the primary.

Here’s the second half of the legislative campaign finance reports we can’t wait to see over the next two weeks:

When will Geraldine Thompson start raising money?

Flipping HD 44 was a major coup for House Democrats last year. Then-former Sen. Geraldine Thompson won by 3 points, sending Republican Bobby Olszewski packing after about a year in office. In 2018, Republicans are looking to reclaim the Orlando-based seat, and Bruno Portigliatti made a major statement in his first report, notching nearly $52,000 in receipts. Thompson, meanwhile, has raised just $1,350 in total. If she’s going to hang on in the swing seat, she’ll need to do better than that.

Is Nina Yoakum raising enough to worry Coach P?

Republcian Rep. Rene Plasencia cruised into his third term with a 10-point win over Pam Dirschka last year. But he earned that margin with nearly $290,000 in campaign expenditures to Dirschka’s $15,000. In her first two months since entering the 2020 contest, Democratic candidate Nina Wheeler Yoakum has already more than Dirschka did in the entirety of the 2018 cycle. Plasencia still held a 3-to-1 lead in contributions at the end of August, but if Yoakum keeps dinking and dunking in her reports, it could be a much closer race than last time.

Can Kaylee Tuck keep up in HD 55?

Ned Hancock raised more than $60,000 last month and headed into October with more than $124,000 cash on hand. He is squaring off against Kaylee Tuck for the Republican nomination in HD 55, the seat currently held by term-limited Rep. Cary Pigman. Thus far, the race has been competitive. Through August, Tuck had raised $59,150 in outside money and chipped in another $5,000 loans. She’s spent a fair bit more, though, starting September with about $55,000 banked. If her September numbers don’t measure up, Hancock would be the de facto frontrunner in the deep-red seat.

Does Andrew Learned have momentum in HD 59?

When Democratic Rep. Adam Hattersley announced he would run for Congress, Andrew Learned axed his U.S. House campaign to run for Hattersley’s HD 59 seat. He got off to a fast start in the swing district, bringing in nearly $21,000 in his first month. Still, Republican Michael Owen leads with $66,000 in the bank, including $15,000 in loans. If Learned can follow up with a second stellar report, Democrats can breathe a sigh of relief. He’ll need to keep it up through to the finish line, though — Hattersley squeaked by with a three point win last year.

Should Jamie Grant be worried in HD 64?

Republican Rep. Jamie Grant has held office since 2010 and, for the most part, he hasn’t faced a legitimate Democratic threat. He hasn’t raised all that much this cycle, however. Through August he’d raised about $35,000 and had less that $10,000 in the bank. Democratic candidate Jessica Harrington has brought in about half that sum, but she ended August with more money in the bank. She’ll need to raise a lot more to put the Tampa-based seat in play, but if Grant slow pokes it, Harrington could catch up.

Who’s leading in the Republican primary for HD 72?

The pair of Republicans looking to flip HD 72 have been raising plenty of cash. Through August, Fiona McFarland led with $125,000 raised, including $20,000 in loans. But Donna Barcomb has remained competitive. She had reeled in $72,000, including $9,000 in loans, as of Aug. 31. With high-profile endorsements heading to both sides of the primary race, every finance report matters.

How much more money will head to HD 76?

The race to replace Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues in HD 76 is shaping up to be an expensive one. Three GOP candidates are duking it out. Two of them, Adam Botana and Jason Maughan have already cleared the $100,000 mark. Botana’s money has come in faster, though — he’s been in the race two months to Maughan’s six. And Maughan has slowed down, raising just $1,300 between July 1 and Aug. 31. Meanwhile, the third candidate, Jesse Purdon, has brought in nearly $40,000. That’s enough to make it a three-way race if the competition doesn’t keep raising the stakes.

Is Bryan Blackwell maintaining his lead in HD 77?

Bryan Blackwell currently leads in the race to replace Rep. Dane Eagle in HD 77. Through seven months, the Cape Coral Republican has raised nearly $29,000 from donors and put down another $20,000 of his own money. Primary challenger Mike Giallombardo has raised about $14,000 since entering the race. While he’s nowhere close to overtaking Blackwell, he’s posted the better report in the three months since he launched his campaign. Will he continue chipping away at Blackwell’s lead?

Has Carl Domino lent more money?

Republican Rep. Carl Domino’s campaign account is flush with cash, but it all came from his own bank account. He’s pumped $25,000 into his reelection bid in each of the last two months, and he has nearly all of that on hand. Meanwhile, primary challenger John Snyder has raised nearly as much the hard way. He finished August with $47,775 raised and $42,470 banked. If Domino doesn’t start raising money, Snyder could make 2020 very expensive for him.

What’s going on in HD 85?

Republican Rep. Rick Roth won reelection by 10 points last year, and the seat wasn’t any closer in 2016. Still, Democratic challenger Jim Carroll seems undeterred. He plunked down $50,000 of his own money in August and hauled in another $22,000 from donors. That gives him a nearly 2-to-1 advantage over Roth, who had raised $31,600 through Aug. 31. Will Carrol keep risking his own cash in a district so unfavorable to Democrats?

Who had the best month in the HD 89 rematch?

There were many close elections in 2018, but none were closer than HD 89. After a manual recount, Republican Mike Caruso beat out Democrat Jim Bonfiglio by just 32 votes. Bonfiglio is giving it another go in 2020, but so far Caruso has been the standout in fundraising. He had $44,000 banked at the end of August to Bonfiglio’s $15,000. Another important figure: more than two-thirds of Bonfiglio’s receipts were candidate loans while Caruso’s entire bankroll came from donors. Both men put a lot of their own money on the line last go around.

Can Chip LaMarca’s challenger raise cash?

HD 93 is yet another seat where the challenger has put their own money up. In her first month, Democrat Linda Gonzalez showed a $30,000 loan and just $100 in contributions. Republican Rep. Chip LaMarca, meanwhile, has raised more than $70,000 from donors. Most of that money came in before the 2019 Legislative Session — since Sine Die, his best month saw him raise less than $4,000. If Gonzalez can raise money, or is willing to risk more of her own, HD 93 could be competitive in 2020.

Who’s the standout in HD 101?

Rep. Shevrin Jones is looking to move up to the state Senate and three Democrats are vying to replace him: Brian Johnson, Ashira Mohammed and Marie Woodson. Johnson was leading the pack at the end of August, with nearly $60,000 raised and $40,000 in the bank. Woodson has been chugging along, too, amassing up nearly $45,000 with $37,000 on hand. Mohammed, meanwhile, has raised about $12,000 and has $10,000 left. A stellar report could put any of them in the lead position.

Why isn’t Cindy Polo raising money?

Democratic Rep. Cindy Polo launched her reelection campaign back in December, but her campaign account isn’t showing any signs of life. Nine reports in, and she’s raised just under $1,200. Meanwhile, Republican Thomas Fabricio raised 10 times as much in his first month running. He tacked on another $10,000 in candidate loans, which put him at more than $22,000 banked at the end of August. If that didn’t light a fire under Polo, nothing will. 

Is Bibiana Potestad pulling away?

Three Republicans are vying to replace Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez in HD 105: Bibiana Potestad, David Borrero and Peter Barrios. Potestad has been the standout so far. She pulled in more than $50,000 in August, and she’s already filed her September numbers, which show another $16,500 in receipts last month. But Borrero also had an impressive August, clearing $35,000 in contributions. Whether he keeps it up or he doesn’t, his September numbers will serve as an early indication of how competitive the primary will be in the open seat.

How much does Vance Aloupis have?

Freshman Rep. Vance Aloupis has been doing well on the fundraising front. At the end of August, the Miami Republican had raised about $116,000 for his reelection campaign, including nearly $26,000 for the month. Until now, Aloupis had been running unopposed for a second term in HD 115, but with the entry of Democratic hopeful Franccesca Cesti-Browne, September will end up being his last month running solo. How much more did he pile on? No matter the figure, Cesti-Browne has some catching up to do.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Paula

    October 7, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Such a shame it’s all about raising money and not about the issues.
    Would love if the news outlets did better job of letting readers know where those running stand on the issues, not just sharing how much money they have raised for re-election.

    For example, last legislative session, Jamie Grant proposed a bill to allow short-term rentals everywhere, ostensibly even in communities with HOAs, stating in his bill that it’s a “constitutional right” to do whatever you’d like with your property (see HB987). He would be voted right out of office if people were aware of that, regardless of his war chest.

  2. Larry Gillis, Libertarian

    October 7, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    I know that “money is speech”, yadda yadda, but “it don’t sing and dance” (Springsteen). Why not pair each of these clowns with some original idea of theirs?

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

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