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Cape Coral Republican Rep. Dane Eagle (HD 77)
Florida House Majority Leader Dane Eagle.

2020

Dane Eagle soars with $422K in contributions for congressional bid

That’s more outside contributions than any other Republican in the field.

State Rep. Dane Eagle pulled in more than $400,000 in outside contributions to his campaign for Congress.

The House Republican Leader raked in $422,295 in contributions for his campaign in the last two months of 2019. That appears to be more in outside contributions than any other candidate, including self-funders, in the GOP field.

“I’m honored to have the support of so many of our respected community leaders,” Eagle said. “We have shown we are willing to put in the hard work to earn the support of the community, rather than simply writing a check to ourselves.”

Contributions come from over 300 different donors, Eagle’s campaign said. And those donors include House Speaker Jose Oliva, former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and former state Reps. Gary Aubuchon, Chris Dorworth and Jim Boyd.

He also picked up support from political committees run by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller and former Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

Of note, many donations came in above a $2,800 cap on primary donations, meaning any money would have to be spent in the general election should Eagle win the nomination. About $310,000 of the money raised can be spent in the Republican primary, still more than any other candidate raised in outside contributions.

That puts the cash on hand available now at around $260,000.

Eagle in November became one of the first major candidates to file for retiring U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney’s seat. He’s one of eight Republicans running in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

He held his kickoff and first major fundraiser in December, giving him a leg up on some competitors. That showed in his fourth quarter reports, the first for nearly every Republican in the race.

He notably got a head start on spending as well, and started 2020 with $375,336 in cash on hand. That means he already dropped nearly $47,000 laying down the infrastructure for his campaign.

The Cape Coral Republican has stressed his local roots in the region as a graduate of Bishop Verot High School and an alumnus for Florida Gulf Coast University, both schools in the district. He ultimately earned his bachelor’s at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Eagle is wrapping up an eight-year run in the Florida House, where he has climbed leadership ranks. That’s paid off in his early numbers, even as two other state lawmakers, Reps. Heather Fitzenhagen and Byron Donalds entered the field.

Fitzenhagen, for her part, raised $31,550 in 2019 and started the year with $30,291. But her campaign kickoff didn’t take place until January and was not reflected in the fourth quarter report.

Donalds, meanwhile, did not enter the race until January and won’t file an initial report until April.

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson tapped into Southwest Florida’s political network. He raised $68,392 since entering the race.

But already, some self-funders in the race have shown they plan to put in significant personal resources.

Naples physician William Figlesthaler chipped in a $410,000 loan and closed 2019 with $506,764 in cash on hand

Ford O’Connell announced today he had chipped in a $200,000 personal loan on top of more than $100,000 in outside contributions.

Former Minnesota state lawmaker Dan Severson also put in a $100,000 loan and closed 2019 with more than $103,000 in the bank.

Additionally, former New York City Mayoral candidate Darren Dione Aquino told Florida Politics he put in $10,000 as he raised some $21,000 in total to start up his campaign.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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