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.
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.