The leading Republican candidates in the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District had a month of six-figure spending as they ramp up for the Aug. 18 Primary Election.
Primary frontrunner Amanda Makki spent the most of the four Republican candidates this period, spending $442,799 in the month of July.
Makki started the period with $791,109 cash on hand — the highest of her Republican opponents — and raised $136,297 throughout the month.
If Makki wins the primary, as polls predict, she’ll start her race against incumbent Democrat Charlie Crist with $484,607 — about $2.6 million less than Crist, who ended July with $3.1 million cash on hand.
Both ended the month with debts. Crist owes $48,638 and Makki $2,204, still leaving Crist with a hefty amount of funding over Makki.
Makki spent just over $190,000 on Mentzer Media Services for campaign advertising this month, and about $100,000 on consulting.
Crist, who faces no challengers in the August primary, spent $96,873 in July, and raised $67,389. The incumbent spent a chunk of funding on payroll services, and just over one-third of his July expenditures went to polling research.
CD 15 candidate Anna Paulina Luna followed Makki with $329,734 cash on hand at the start of the period. Luna raised about $77,400 more than her toughest competitor in July, but spent half that of Makki. Luna had $224,570 in expenditures for July.
Luna spent about $64,000 this month on consulting, but most of her spending was focused on campaign advertisements, with $40,000 going to digital advertising, and several smaller expenditures used for canvassing and postage.
She ended the period with $318,904 cash on hand.
Of top three Republican fundraisers, George Buck spent the least this period, but has spent the most throughout his campaign, reaching $969,391 in total disbursements.
Buck started July with only $51,895 cash on hand, but raised $102,386. He spent $127,951 this period, and left July with $30,802 on hand. He also owes $11,842 in debts, leaving him with about $19,000 still available.
Buck has been a controversial candidate in the race, garnering criticism after tweeting that only natural born citizens should be able to serve in Congress — a plan that would disqualify Makki, who was born in Iran.
Sheila Griffin raised $6,642 this month and only spent $4,030 this period. Griffin is left with $5,824 in cash on hand, and owes $20,928 in debts, putting her campaign deep into the red.
A fifth Republican candidate, Sharon Newby, dropped out of the race on Friday, and endorsed Luna for the primary election.
Florida’s 13th Congressional District covers Pinellas County, and includes parts of St. Petersburg, Largo and Clearwater.