Francis Rooney raises next to nothing in 3rd quarter

But he has nearly $600,000 in the bank.

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney raised $605 in the third quarter of 2019.

It may be another sign the Naples Republican running is running his last Congressional campaign.

The three-digit haul was actually less than Democratic opponent Cindy Banyai raised in the quarter. She pulled in about $914 in the short time since she opened an account.

The difference, of course, is that the incumbent still has $597,295 in cash on hand. Banyai has less than $575.

But with Rooney’s campaign reporting less than $1,000 for the third term in a row, the inactivity has fueled rumors of his retirement.

Rooney has filed to run in 2020 for a third term representing Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

But he’s also a vocal supporter of term limits. In July, he signed a U.S. Term Limits Pledge supporting a cap of three terms for U.S. House members. The Naples pol is about halfway through his second term now.

Of course, Rooney is also one of the 25 wealthiest members of Congress. So it’s entirely possible he can bankroll any serious threat that arises to reelection.

It’s also of note that until September, Rooney faced no opposition whatsoever. Banyai filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Sept. 4.

Republican candidate Antonio Dumornay on Sept. 6 filed as a candidate with the state Division of Elections but has yet to open an FEC account.

Every dollar raised by Rooney this quarter came from a single source, Naples contractor Kevin Jensen of Kensen Underground Utilities. In total this cycle, Jensen has donated $1,100 to Rooney’s reelection effort.

Regardless, the low activity on Rooney’s part standards in sharp contrast to his fundraising leading up to the 2018 election. In the first three quarters in 2017, Rooney raised $168,242. That included $28,524 raised in the third quarter that year.

Over the course of the 2018 cycle, Rooney pulled in $1,269,160 to Democratic opponent David Holden’s $576,624. Rooney ultimately beat Holden in November with more than 62 percent of the vote.

Jacob Ogles

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 [email protected].


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