Ray Rodrigues outspending Heather Fitzenhagen, but committees are where the action is

Fitzenhagen Rodrigues
PCs have been a primary conduit for massive ad buys in SD 27.

Ray Rodrigues continues to out-raise and outspend Heather Fitzenhagen in Senate District 27’s Republican primary.

Through July 24, Rodrigues had raised $498,821 since jumping into the contest last year. That includes $16,500 pumped into his coffers since July 18.

Money came from such donors as Florida Agribusiness for Responsible Government, The Florida Justice Reform Committee and Wine and Spirits Distributors of Florida. All those political committees shipped $1,000 Rodrigues’ way.

FItzenhagen has pulled together $102,667 in a much shorter period, with $11,680 coming between July 18 and 24. Jack Latvala’s Florida Leadership Committee, Andrew Graham’s Foundation for Freedom, Real Property Probate & Trust Law and RPPTL-PAC all donated the maximum amount in that time.

Fitzenhagen spend just $422 in the last period, all in processing fees, ending with $31,629 on hand.

Rodrigues, meanwhile, injected $43,571 into the race, the bulk, $34,720, on advertising with Multi Media Services. He also kicked $8,250 toward Data Targeting Research in Gainesville.

But the full story can’t be found in Senate District 27 by looking merely at campaign accounts. Outside political committees continue to shape the race’s messaging.

Friends of Ray Rodrigues collected an additional $51,500, including a $15,500 donation from Miami attorney Robert Rubenstein, in the last reporting period. The group sits on $72,838 heading into the final primary stretch. Free Markets for Florida, reported no activity.

But as Florida Politics previously reported, Rodrigues committees directed nearly $700,000 toward the William Jones-chaired Americans for Liberty and Prosperity. That group sits on $714,862 in cash, presumably ready to help Rodrigues as necessary.

Fitzenhagen’s For A Better Florida committee pulled in an extra $5,000 for the period and reported $27,807 as of July 24.

The In Florida We Trust committee remains a question mark and hasn’t filed its report yet. The Everglades Water Trust before July 17 put $250,000 toward the new group, which collected $399,500 since forming in mid-June. The group has already spent $190,009, much of it on negative ads against Rodrigues.

The group this week announced a major media buy of nearly $500,000.

Jacob Ogles

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 [email protected]


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