Fiona McFarland raises as much in November as all opponents combined
Fiona McFarland

Fiona smiling
She'll start 2020 with double the cash of any opponent.

Sarasota Republican Fiona McFarland raised more than all her Florida House District 72 opponents combined in November.

In a fairly modest month all around, McFarland pulled in $11,225. That brings her total contributions to $138,688, plus a $20,000 candidate loan.

In comparison, Republican Jason Miller raised $5,169 in his first month since jumping into the race; he also put in $2,500 of his own cash. Republican Donna Barcomb raised $2,100, bringing her total to $77,740, plus a $9,000 loan.

Democrat Drake Buckman raised $3,165, bringing total contributions to $22,425. He’s also put in a $1,201 candidate loan.

That means McFarland starts 2020 with a roughly 2-to-1 cash advantage over any other Republican in the field.

“2019 was a great start to the campaign,” McFarland said in a statement. “Our message of service over self has resonated with many in the community. It’s now our job to carry that momentum into 2020 as we engage voters and show that I will be a strong representative of their interests in Tallahassee.”

The totals don’t include $10,500 in the McFarland-associated committee Friends of Sarasota.

The Democrat-controlled seat is open this year thanks to state Rep. Margaret Good choosing to challenge U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan for his seat in Congress. Right now, Republicans appear to hold a significant financial advantage and a chance to flip the seat red.

As for the source of money, McFarland relied in November on individual donors and family.

Gretchen McFarland of Texas gave $1,000. But so did Sarasota retirees Howard Reinheimer, Margaret Wise and Ann and Thomas Charters.

Miller, who also ran for the seat in 2018 but lost in the primary to Ray Pilon, actually surprised with the second largest haul of the month. He was buoyed by several large donations, including $1,000 checks from law firm and employer Najmy Thomas and small business owners Kiri Stewart and Mary Ann Miller.

But Barcomb still seems McFarland’s main competition for the nomination, even as she saw a small boost just from small donors in November.

Buckman’s most significant boost in November came with a $1,000 check from Julie Leach, executive director of the Westcoast Black Theater Troupe.

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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