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Jackie Toledo posts banner October fundraising totals

Her latest fundraising totals come out as Toledo now faces a Democratic challenger.

State Rep. Jackie Toledo posted her top fundraising totals so far this year for campaign finance activity covering the month of October, reports released Tuesday show.

Toledo raised $71,900, topping her previous record setting month in February when she raised $46,600.

Toledo’s total fundraising this year is now at more than $178,000. Of that she’s spent about $74,000, leaving her with more than $100,000 left to spend as she now faces a challenger.

Democrat Julie Jenkins is challenging Toledo for her House District 60 seat representing parts of Tampa. Jenkins does not have to file a campaign finance report until next month because she just entered the race last week and could not have raised funds in October.

Toledo collected 114 total individual contributions averaging $639 each. Fewer than 10 contributions were less than $100, meaning the incumbent Republican is targeting top-dollar contributors.

Several groups, individuals and companies contributed the maximum $1,000 to Toledo’s campaign. She brought in top-dollar contributions from the Casper family, which owns the largest number of McDonald’s franchises in the region, as well as from Duke Energy, political committees representing statewide Realtor, police and firefighters, pharmaceutical giant Novartis, Marathon Petroleum, communications companies Comcast and Frontier and two lobbying firms controlled by Tampa area lobbyist Ron Pierce.

Other maximum contributions came from Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, Kimmins Contracting and Ajax paving, among several others.

Toledo was first elected to the Florida House in 2016 and reelected in 2018. Representatives can serve a total of four two-year terms.

Toledo is coming off a successful 2019 Legislative Session in which, among other legislation, she helped usher in a long-anticipated texting while driving ban, one of the year’s most high-profile pieces of legislation. Lawmakers have been trying for years to pass a bill that would make texting while driving a primary offense. Prior to Toledo’s legislation, which garnered bipartisan support, the offense was secondary, meaning law enforcement officers could only ticket drivers if they were pulled over for another primary offense like speeding or running a red light.

This year, Toledo is one of several in a bipartisan group backing LGBT+ workplace protections.

Jenkins faces a tough challenge in Toledo. As the incumbent, Toledo has access to donors with deep pockets. The district also favors Republicans by about 6,500 voters. Of the districts 124,000 registered voters, about 47,000 are Republicans while only 40,500 are Democrats.

Toledo defeated a Democratic challenger last year. She bested Debra Bellanti with 52 percent of the vote.

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 Patch.com 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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