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Fiona McFarland, Drake Buckman, Donna Barcomb, Jason Miller

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Republican candidates hold major money advantage in effort to retake HD 72

Fiona McFarland and Donna Barcomb both have more cash than Drake Buckman.

Sarasota Republican Fiona McFarland continues to lead the way in fundraising among House District 72 candidates. Both she and primary opponent Donna Barcomb boast more cash on hand than Democrat Drake Buckman.

That said, Buckman increasingly looks likely to skate to the general election without a primary opponent and save his resources for November.

While the race holds potential as one of the hottest contests in Florida, fundraising cooled in May.

McFarland pulled in another $2,995, bringing total outside contributions to $197,502. That includes $1,000 checks from sports manager Matt Broome and real estate professional Sandy Broome, with the rest coming in small donations from around the country.

Barcomb raised $1,835 in May. That includes $1,000 courtesy political consultant Anthony Pedicini’s Citizens Alliance for Florida’s Economy political committee. That brings her total donations to $87,495.

Meanwhile, Buckman raised $2,254 for the month, bringing his total to $44,017 to date.

The Republican primary increasingly looks like a McFarland-Barcomb contest, with Jason Miller posting his third month with no donations. Miller has kept a social media presence, recently releasing a Memorial Day video of himself in uniform at the Sarasota National Cemetery.

But days out from qualifying, his campaign had $2,723 in cash on hand, an amount lower than the $4,360 Miller loaned his campaign. The deadline to qualify is Friday at noon, and as of Thursday, Miller had not paid the required fee.

One important development may be who technically exited the race. To no great surprise, Democratic incumbent Margaret Good formally withdrew from the race. She’s been running for Congress since July and brushed off any calls to return to her House race.

With hours now running down for any other candidates to jump in, Buckman looks likely to secure the Democratic nomination unopposed. The most significant check from a single source to his campaign in May was $500 from the Democratic Executive Committee in Sarasota County. Other rumored candidates are not expected at this point, sources close to the party suggest.

Still, both Barcomb and McFarland sit on more resources than Buckman.

McFarland has $195,599 in the bank as of the start of June, including a $20,000 loan, and Barcomb has $77,172, with $9,000 of that a loan. Buckman, meanwhile, sits on $16,264, just over $1,200 of that his own loan.

That sets District 72 up for a pickup for the GOP in a year where they are mainly playing defense. Republican Party of Florida Chair Joe Gruters, who lives in Sarasota County, has pointed to the race as one of the likeliest places where the GOP may actually expand its majority.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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