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Brian Mast rejects the notion that the VA limits vereran funerals to only 10 mourners.

2020

Brian Mast crosses $3M raised for 2020 cycle

He retains more than $1.5 million in cash on hand as of March 31.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast added more than $730,000 during the first quarter of 2020, maintaining a strong fundraising pace despite the effects of the novel coronavirus in the state.

That first quarter haul is about in line with previous fundraising benchmarks for Mast. He netted more than $764,000 to close 2019. In the third quarter of that year, Mast added more than $600,000.

Mast’s 2020 first quarter numbers fall in between those two marks at a time where candidates may want to ramp up fundraising ahead of this year’s election.

But the novel coronavirus has made that difficult for many candidates. With social distancing measures in effect, those large, glitzy fundraisers and smaller, intimate gatherings have been paused.

Still, Mast closed the quarter with a respectable number as he seeks to defend his set in Florida’s 18th Congressional District.

The Republican incumbent is facing a primary challenge from former police officer Nick Vessio.

So far, Vessio has not been able to build up a comparable bankroll to Mast’s. Vessio loaned his campaign about $46,000 in the fourth quarter on 2019 on top of a few hundred dollars in outside donations. Vessio followed that up by adding just over $5,600 in the first quarter — $5,000 of which came from another self-loan.

Democratic candidate Oz Vazquez is also seeking to challenge Mast in the general election. He too is trailing Mast’s fundraising pace. Vazquez added $185,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Vazquez is an attorney with experience working as a Deputy Solicitor General in Florida under the Attorney General’s office.

Going forward, Mast has more than $1.5 million in cash on hand.

Mast faced a 2018 challenge from Lauren Baer, a former State Department advisor under President Barack Obama.

Baer was competitive in the fundraising game, even managing to at times outraise Mast. Yet come November, Mast still held onto his seat by a comfortable 8 percentage points.

Federal candidates face an April 15 deadline to report all financial activity through March 31.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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