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Fiona McFarland is overshadowing everyone in the District 72 contest.

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Fiona McFarland makes first big air time spend for HD 72

Sarasota Republican spent $25,000 with D.C. area marketing firm.

Naval reservist Fiona McFarland dropped the first big spend in a competitive primary for House District 72.

The Sarasota Republican spent $24,990 for television production costs with Multi Media Services, a political marketing firm in the Washington, D.C. area, along with the purchase of air time. The spend represents more than half of the $47,454 McFarland spent on the race to date.

It’s the first big ticket investment by any campaign so far in what promises to be one of the most competitive House races in Florida.

The expenditure comes as a Republican primary draws near where McFarland has long held a fundraising advantage but where she faces an opponent who has won county-wide office in the region already.

Sarasota Charter Review Board member Donna Barcomb, reported just $500 in donations fort the period, notably including $200 from Sarasota Clerk of Courts Karen Rushing who just won reelection unopposed.

As for spending, she paid Strategic Image Management more than $2,000 in the period on signage. She’s been working with the Tampa firm since last year and spent more than $13,600 total.

Meanwhile, McFarland raised $2,015 during the period, including a $1,000 check from HCA North Florida Division.

Attorney Jason Miller, who covered the qualification fee this period through another candidate loan, also spent around $215 of Facebook marketing.

But just before the start of June, Miller held about $2,941 in cash on hand, Barcomb had $70,953 ready and McFarland still had $175,199 in the bank.

Meanwhile, Democrat Drake Buckman, unopposed in the district, raised just $875 in small donations but didn’t spend a dime this period. He’s got $18,708 in cash on hand.

All four are running to succeed Rep. Margaret Good, who elected to run for Congress instead of another House term. Good won the seat in a special election in 2018 and held it in the general.

But in the 2016 Presidential election, Republican Donald Trump carried it by 4%, the largest margin of victory he held in any Florida House district now represented by a Democrat. That makes the seat one of the Republicans’ greatest chances for a pickup this cycle.

But only after they choose a nominee, and it’s likely the production bill for McFarland won’t be the last big spend before the Aug. 18 primary.

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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