Jeff Hinkle tops HD 4 field in January fundraising

Jeff Hinkle HD 4
Hinkle also holds the cash lead thanks to a $500K candidate loan.

Okaloosa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Hinkle raised more than $9,400 last month, adding to his cash lead in the race to succeed Rep. Mel Ponder in House District 4.

Hinkle showed 31 checks in his January report, including a half-dozen for $1,000, the maximum allowable contribution for state legislative races.

Max donors included consulting groups Likeminded Conservatives and Cliffside Consulting as well as aviation company Lynx FBO. The average donor to the Hinkle campaign chipped in a little over $300.

To date, Hinkle as raised a little over $30,230 from donors. His spending has matched his fundraising pace, with $30,683 exiting his campaign fund since it launched in September. That eats into the cushion he provided the account by way of a $500,000 candidate loan, though only slightly.

While Hinkle, who is also a professional racer, leads the money race, the cash infusion hasn’t scared off the competition. Also running for the GOP nomination are Jonathan Tallman, Patt Maney and Sandra Atkinson.

The candidates started lining up for the seat after Ponder announced he would forego a third term in the House and would instead run for Okaloosa County Commission.

Maney leads the pack in true fundraising, with $89,000 received from donors. His total includes a $5,900 haul in January. His new report showed a little over $1,000 in spending, leaving him with $76,610 in the bank on Feb. 1.

Tallman is in third place with $46,405 raised and just shy of $40,000 on hand. His January report showed $6,350 in new money, including $1,000 checks from a couple max checks from people sharing his surname.

Tallman, of Niceville, appeared on the HD 4 primary ballot in 2016 and finished 4 points behind Ponder with about of a quarter of the vote in the five-way race.

Atkinson, Mary Esther, is lagging behind with less than $9,000 raised through five months on the trail. Her January receipts showed a declining balance — $1,000 in contributions and $4,416 in spending. Of that, $4,000 went to campaign manager Robert Griggs. She has $2,300 in her campaign account.

HD 4 has a built-in advantage for Republicans. The district has been held by a Republican since its inception. No Democrat challenged Ponder in 2016, and when he went up against Rebecca Koelzer in 2018, he earned nearly three-quarters of the vote.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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