Two months in, Jupiter Republican Rick Kozell has raised nearly $100,000 in hard money for his campaign to succeed term-limited Rep. MaryLynn Magar in House District 82.
The year was capped off with a $24,180 campaign report, which included 16 checks for $1,000 — the maximum allowable contribution for state legislative campaigns. Among his donors were the Building a Better Florida committee and two committees tied to the Florida Beer Wholesalers.
The December campaign report follows a $75,585 report in November. To-date, Kozell has only spent about $3,200, leaving him with $96,550 in the bank heading into 2020.
But that only tells half the story.
Kozell has also been piling on cash through an affiliated political committee, Rick Kozell for Florida. His first 30 days saw him reel in $90,805, while December saw him add an even $5,000 to the fund. Spending has been light on the committee side as well, setting him up with $93,270 banked at the start of the year.
Kozell’s combined war chest of $190,000 far exceeds what the other three candidates in the race have managed over a longer stretch of time.
The closest competitor in the mix is former Rep. Carl J. Domino, who has self-funded to the tune of $100,000. Domino hasn’t spent any of that money, however.
Retired U.S. Marine John Snyder has amassed $57,000 from outside donors, including about $6,000 in December. He finished the year with about $51,250 on hand.
Also running is Jupiter Democrat Jeremy Kelly, who has shown just $260 in contributions through three months in the race.
Given the district’s party split, Magar’s successor is likely to emerge from the Republican primary.
The most recent book closing report from the Florida Division of Elections shows Republicans make up 46% of the district’s electorate, a 20-point advantage over registered Democrats.
The wide registration gap has produced wider results at the ballot box. In 2018, Magar won reelection over Democratic candidate Edward Francis O’Connor with 62% of the vote. President Donald Trump carried the district by an equal margin in 2016.
HD 82 covers parts of Martin and Palm Beach counties, including Stuart.