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Charlie Crist now has $2.8M cash-on-hand for re-election

Crist raised $372,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Charlie Crist banked another $372,000 for his reelection, bringing his total cash on hand to $2.8 million. That fundraising represents fourth quarter earnings covering October through December.

Crist does not face a Democratic challenger in the primary, but a slew of Republicans are battling for their party’s nomination to try to unseat Crist in November. None of the Republican candidates have announced fourth quarter earnings and face a Jan. 31 deadline to do so, but based on their third quarter reports, none is anywhere near Crist with cash on hand.

“We’re doing the people’s work in Washington to reduce the cost of healthcare, protect our environment and social security, and care for our veterans. This outpouring of support will help us continue that work and communicate a positive vision for the future of Pinellas County,” Crist said.

Crist’s campaign also touted a Cook Political Report that rates Crist’s Congressional District 13 as “solid blue.”

Amanda Makki is so far the top GOP fundraiser.

As of the end of September Makki had raised $418,000 and had about $404,000 on hand. Makki appears to be the GOP establishment favorite based both on her fundraising support and on endorsements from various conservative groups.

Meanwhile, military veteran Anna Paulina Luna is running as the pro-Trump candidate in the race and recently collected an endorsement from prominent Trump defender U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.

However, Luna had raised just $55,0000 as of the end of September. Her fourth quarter reports should indicate whether Gaetz’s backing will help her drum up financial support from the Trump wing of the party.

George Buck, who unsuccessfully challenged Crist in 2018, is the second highest earner in the crowded Republican field with $179,000 raised by the end of the third quarter.

Matt Becker trails with $71,000 raised while Shiela Griffin is struggling at the bottom with just $14,000 banked in her race.

A sixth potential candidate, Sharon Barry Newby, who is indeed a political newbie, has announced she plans to run, but has not yet filed with the Federal Election Commission. At this late hour it looks as though she might have changed her mind — Florida’s primary election is March 17.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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