Rep. Loranne Ausley has raised $587,000 since she launched her bid to replace term-limited Sen. Bill Montford last year.
Ausley opted to not run for a seventh — third consecutive — House term, vying instead for Montford’s Senate District 3 seat. Both are Tallahassee Democrats.
She padded her strong fundraising numbers last month with $47,000 to her campaign and $54,000 to her political committee, Florida 2020.
Her 2019 numbers were boosted by fundraising in South Florida, which she visited in September for two fundraisers. She also held a fundraiser that month in Washington, D.C.
And Ausley will hit the campaign trail after Session with tentatively scheduled events in Miami on April 14 and Palm Beach on April 15. The next month, she plans to hit Orlando on May 19 and Tampa on May 20.
Ausley’s one Democratic primary competitor, ousted Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox, hasn’t reported any campaign expenditures since 2018. While Maddox’s campaign is technically active, he pleaded guilty to corruption charges in August and awaits sentencing later this year.
That leaves Ausley as the leading candidate to replace Montford in the November race expected to go their party’s way. SD 3 includes Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties, but two-thirds of the electorate live in Leon.
Republicans may be looking at a primary race for the first time since the seat was redistricted in 2012. Marva Harris Preston, of Crawfordville, raised $10,000 last year in her race against Benjamin Horbowy of Tallahassee, who raised $247.67. Libertarian candidate Erin Gill has yet to report any campaign earnings since her July launch.
Ausley has represented House District 3 since 2016 and also represented the district from 2000 to 2008. In 2010, she ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Florida Chief Financial Officer before losing the general election to then-Senate President Jeff Atwater.