Half the candidates running in 2019 to succeed state Rep. Ray Rodrigues in the Florida House ultimately dropped out. But the remaining candidates start 2020 with six-figure hauls and promise one of the unpredictable races of the year.
Bonita Springs businessman Adam Botana raised a total of $128,920 between July and year’s end in 2019. As the calendar turned, he had $115,545 in cash on hand.
Sanibel City Councilman Jason Maughan, who jumped into the race in February, raised $117,360 last year. Subtract expenses and he still has $106,087 in the bank.
Maughan has been running since his only opponent was Marine Peter Cuderman, and then when he faced former Congressional aide Jesse Purdon.
Regardless, Maughan and Botana remain, and neither has a strong history with Lee County’s political establishment. Botana’s a first-time candidate. Maughan, while elected to the Sanibel council, ran once before for a Tallahassee job and ended up in a dragout primary against incumbent Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto.
So how has each one built up resources for the Florida House District 76 race this year?
Maughan largely turned down fundraising in the final quarter of the year, raising just $50 from a donor in Bokeelia in December. But he started 2019 strong with $50,500 raised in March, his first full month. Virtually all of his money comes from sources within Lee County, many of them retired business professionals living in the island communities. He’s raised $68,150 from Sanibel and Captiva alone.
Botana, whose family owns and operates Bay Water Exclusive Boat Club, was the most recent entry to the race but has raised the most, much of that through family and connected businesses. But like Maughan, he’s drawn donations from many sources within the district. And he’s collected from 210 sources, as opposed to Maughan’s 159. In December, he raised $4,300, including $1,000 checks from real estate broker Diane Ewing, retiree Tod Wilcox and from the Marine Industries Association.
Both filed in the Republican primary and no other candidates have entered the race.