Republican congressional candidate Leo Valentin‘s campaign announced it raised more than $250,000 during the fourth quarter of 2019, the first quarter of his candidacy for Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
The Orlando Republican is seeking a chance to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in the district, which covers Seminole County and parts of northern and central Orange County.
He is in a crowded Republican field but appears to have surged to the fore, at least in fundraising. Also contending for the chance to take on Murphy are Yukong Zhao of Orlando, who announced earlier this week that he had raised $120,000; Vennia Francois of Orlando; Stephen Bacon of DeBary; Richard Goble of Longwood; and Thomas Delia of Orlando, In addition, Chelle DiAngelus of Longwood is exploring getting into the contest.
Another Republican, Mike Thibodeau of Orlando, told Florida Politics this week that he is suspending his campaign due to health matters within his family.
Valentin opened his campaign with a splash with a video and an early fundraising effort that his campaign said picked up $100,000 in its first week in November.
That drive appears to have continued. The campaign announced Thursday its first quarterly campaign finance report to the Federal Election Commission will detail more than $250,000 in donations, which includes $70,000 from Valentin and the rest from 129 individual donors.
Fully detailed campaign finance reports for Valentin, Murphy, and other candidates will be posted soon by the FEC.
“We’re all very proud of the success we’ve seen in our fundraising since entering this race just a few short months ago. Before we launched our campaign, we knew that only a well-funded campaign would be capable to defeating Stephanie Murphy and the response we’ve seen to our campaign’s message in terms of fundraising has been incredibly encouraging,” Valentin said in a news release.
“However, we know that this is only half the equation and that we cannot afford to take our foot off the gas pedal. We’ve also put significant time and resources into building a grassroots network that is growing every day,” he added. “The surge we’ve seen in both fundraising and grassroots mobilization is a strong sign that the members of this district’s communities are tired of Murphy’s false promises and want someone new to represent their interests in Washington.”