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