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2020

Casey Askar looms over CD 19 primary with $1.76M cash on hand

He’s got $1 million more in the bank than William Figlesthaler.

Five weeks from the primary election, millionaire Casey Askar reports more cash on hand than all his GOP competitors combined.

Askar, a Naples Republican, reported more than $1.89 million in expenditures through the end of June, and still started July with more than $1.76 million in cash on hand. He’s one of nine Republicans running in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

His campaign has collected nearly $3.66 million, with $3 million coming from a candidate loan — one which raised eyebrows thanks to a 0% APR and being tied to his interest in limited liability corporations. An FEC complaint was filed against Askar regarding the loan last month.

Regardless, Askar’s campaign has already spent a good chunk of the money. That’s all the more striking since he just jumped into the race in March.

The next best funded candidate in the race remains Dr. William Figlesthaler, who reported $709,435 in cash as of the end of the second quarter. Another generous self-funder, he’s put a $1.66 million loan into the race, the bulk of the $1.99 million he has raised thus far.

Through the end of June, Figlesthaler spent nearly $1.28 million on the race, reaching well beyond $326,420 in outside contributions. Like Askar, that money has largely gone into massive marketing efforts including TV buys in the district.

State Rep. Byron Donalds reported a significant second quarter haul, raising $440,800 for the campaign. That brings his total receipts to $778,963. He headed into July with $328,588 in cash on hand, and spending $450,375.

Florida House Republican Leader Dane Eagle goes into the final stretch of the primary with more cash on hand than Donalds, around $395,654. But he’s raised and spent less than Donalds. Eagle reported another $158,832 in donations for the second quarter, bringing his grand total to $711,327. He spent $315,674 before the end of June.

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson was the only other candidate in the GOP field reporting more than six figures still in the bank, with about $100,888 available at the beginning of July. He raised another $93,777 in the second quarter, bringing his total fundraising to $233,555. He has spent $132,667 of that so far.

Rounding out the field, former Minnesota lawmaker Dan Severson enters the final stretch with about $34,304 cash on hand, after raising $137,124 and spending $102,820. The coffers include a $101,500 candidate loan.

Disabled activist Darren Aquino reported no cash on hand and has spent $40,833, more than the $35,780 he has raised. He has reported about $15,300 in loans to his campaign.

Ave Maria law grad Christy McLaughlin is still sitting on most of the $11,815 she has raised, having spent just $168.40 through the end of June.

Collier County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Kowal has reported no financial activity with the FEC.

A recent St. Pete Polls survey commissioned by Florida Politics found Askar leading the nine-Republican field with 30% support, followed by Donalds at 26%, within the poll’s 4.3% margin of error. The poll pegged Figlesthaler in third with 16% and Eagle in fourth with 8%. Henderson came in fifth place with 5% support.

CD 19 Republicans ranked by cash on hand at the end of the second quarter of 2020.

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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