Financial advisor David Holden burst strong into the race for Florida’s 19th Congressional District.
The Naples Democrat announced in November he would make a second run for the seat. He ultimately closed 2019 having raised $58,078, on top of a $45,000 candidate loan.
And having spent upward of $33,720 before the close of the year, he started 2020 with $69,358 in cash on hand.
That’s quite a bit more than Democratic opponent Cindy Banyai, a Florida Gulf Coast University professor. She raised $13,208 in the fourth quarter and closed the year with $10,089 in cash on hand.
But the Democrats both underperformed a number of their Republican opponents. The eight GOP candidates collectively raised more than $1 million through aggressive fundraising and self-funding.
Republican candidates include Naples urologist William Figlesthaler, state Reps. Dane Eagle, Heather Fitzenhagen and Byron Donalds, former Minnesota lawmaker Dan Severson, Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, former New York Mayoral candidate Darren Dione Aquino and conservative pundit Ford O’Connell.
Antonio DuMornay has also filed as an independent.
Notably, Holden’s numbers reflect activity through the end of 2019, but he held back-to-back campaign kickoffs in Lee and Collier counties in January that won’t be reflected in this report.
It’s still an uphill battle for any Democrat in the district. Holden in 2018 challenged incumbent Rep. Francis Rooney and lost by 24%.
But Rooney announced he’s not seeking a third term, and that has Democrats a little more hopeful as an open seat looms during a presidential election year.
Last cycle, Holden fended off a primary challenge by Todd Truax.
In that election, Holden ultimately raised $576,624 in outside individual contributions to his campaign. He closed out his last run for Congress with $19,501 in cash on hand.
And he has one claim over competitors. He enters 2020 with more experience running a federal campaign than any other candidate in the field.