Naples fast food mogul Casey Askar announced he raised $500,000 in just 11 days after announcing his campaign for Congress.
“I am so grateful for the overwhelming support we’ve received out the gate,” the Naples republican said.
“It’s clear that voters are craving a conservative outsider who will be committed to serving them, not political interests. I look forward to building on this success in the weeks ahead as our campaign grows.”
Askar announced on March 20 he was running in Florida’s 19th Congressional District to succeed retiring Rep. Francis Rooney.
That gave him just 11 days to raise funds before the first quarter ended.
Askar said about half of his support comes from small donors who gave less than $200. That suggests at least 1,250 individuals gave to the campaign in those amounts.
While Askar is new to the race, he’s hit the ground running. That’s in part due to bringing on staff who previously worked for pundit Ford O’Connell, who dropped out of the race days before Askar got in.
That includes Nick Carr, who previously worked on Rooney’s campaign, and Sean Kempton, who helped now-Gov. Ron DeSantis’ once-longshot gubernatorial campaign.
Askar quickly released a biographical ad, telling the story of his family freeing Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq when he was a child.
The successful businessman made his fortune co-founding the Askar Family Office portfolio, which operates Askar Brands, Askar Properties and Askar Management Group. He’s a major franchisee for Church’s Chicken, Dunkin’ Donuts and other national brands.
That seems to position Askar as a candidate with capacity to self-fund in the race. A nine-candidate GOP primary includes Naples physician William Figlesthaler, who infused his fourth quarter fundraising at the end of 2016 with a $410,000 candidate loan. That was on top of $126,295 raised in outside contributions.
Askar is only the second candidate to announce totals for the first quarter in 2020. State lawmaker Byron Donalds has raised more than $335,000. This marks the first fundraising quarter for both candidates.
“More important than fundraising numbers, however, I want the people of southwest Florida to know I am thinking and praying for them during this pandemic, especially during Holy Week,” Askar said, alluding to the ongoing global pandemic.
“We will get through this together and when we do, I will be ready to stand with President Donald Trump to help build our economy back up as I have done with businesses across the country my entire career.”