Bill Olson steps up fundraising in Republican CD 9 crowd
Bill Olson has become Darren Soto’s latest Republican opponent.

Bill Olson
Olson still significantly trails incumbent Rep. Darren Soto.

Republican congressional candidate Bill Olson continued to put campaign finance distance between himself and a bevy of other Republicans seeking a shot at Democratic Rep. Darren Soto in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

In the first quarter of 2020 Olson, a retired Army veteran and former guest relations worker at Walt Disney World, raised $45,070 for a run in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, which covers Osceola County, southern Orange County, and eastern Polk County. It was the second consecutive quarter that Olson collected at least $25,000.

That might be a pittance in many congressional campaigns, and an amount that significantly trails Soto’s fundraising efforts, but it amounts to the only serious campaign fundraising effort among four Republican candidates. It also suggests momentum, as the only Republican candidate to have raised even $10,000.

Olson, of Davenport, is also the only Republican retaining professional campaign consultants, having brought in Go Right Strategies of Land O Lakes, LGM Consulting of Delaware, and Liz Curtis & Associates of New Jersey in recent months.

Olson entered April having raised a total of $86,587, though he has spent $79,743 of that, mostly on the political consultants now driving his campaign. With a personal loan, he entered April with $15,713.

Among other Republicans, Jose Castillo of Kissimmee raised $2,456 in the first quarter, and entered April with $1,578 in the bank. Christopher Wright of Orlando, picked up $4,385 in the quarter, and reported having $2,711 in the bank. Sergio Ortiz of Kissimmee, who’s been running for nearly a year, has yet to report any campaign finance activity.

Meanwhile, Soto posted another modest quarter for an incumbent, though he remains far ahead of Olson in campaign cash.

Soto collected $94,680 during the quarter, with $50,000 of that coming from political action committees and the rest from individual contributions. He’s now raised $592,974 during this election cycle and entered April with $331,883 in the bank.

Soto’s most recent haul included contributions of at least $1,000 from 28 PACs, including contributions from three Native American tribes that operate casinos in other states. Other contributions came from PACs representing a wide range of interests including labor unions, banks, utilities and agriculture.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


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