U.S. Rep. Brian Mast of Florida’s 18th Congressional District added another $764,000 in the final quarter of 2019, giving him just over $2.3 million raised through the end of the year.
The Republican incumbent enters 2020 with more than $1.2 million in his war chest as he attempts to defend his seat from a Democratic challenger.
Mast spent nearly $450,000 during the fourth quarter. Among his expenditures was a refunded contribution of $2,433 he had received from Igor Fruman.
Fruman and Lev Parnas — who are associates of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani — are facing charges in connection with a $325,000 donation in support of Trump’s reelection.
Parnas himself has been in the spotlight recently as he’s given several interviews alleging his personal involvement with conduct implicated in the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Mast had promised to return the Fruman donation back in August when news of those federal charges first broke.
“Brian has never met or talked to Fruman and didn’t solicit the money,” a Mast spokesperson said.
The fourth quarter fundraising reports for Vazquez and Vessio are not yet available. Federal candidates face a Jan. 31 deadline to report all fundraising activity through the end of 2019.
Vazquez is an attorney with experience working as a Deputy Solicitor General in Florida under the Attorney General’s office. He’s attempted to position himself as a Democrat that can communicate with both sides of the political spectrum.
Because Vazquez declared his candidacy just after the close of the third quarter, he has not yet been required to submit any fundraising reports. His fourth quarter numbers will give the first insight to his ability to raise money.
The Vazquez campaign said it raised $100,000 in the first 48 hours following his announcement.
Mast was able to defeat his Democratic opponent by 8 percentage points in 2018.