Democrat Monique Worrell and her supporters have turbocharged her campaign’s cash chase for the State Attorney Office in Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit.
Worrell’s campaign reported pulling in $20,000 and her independent political committee another $16,500 during the last week in July, suddenly swamping the other three Democrats seeking the open seat.
And that was before Worrell’s big August 1 fundraising event featuring a live, albeit online, show by music superstar John Legend. That event had tickets ranging in price from $50 for a select few all the way to $10,000 apiece for super supporters of her political committee Fighting for Justice.
None of Worrell’s opponents in the August 18 Democratic primary brought in so much as $5,000 during the final week of July.
Worrell’s official campaign continued to tap the national progressive Democrats’ movement at both high and low ends of the donor scale. In the week of July 25-31, she received hundreds of small-dollar donations from California, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado and just about every other state. She also picked up some four-figure checks from around the country.
Yet she also has tapped local money. Former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy sent Fighting for Justice a $1,000 check in the last week in July, after contributing $15,000 earlier in the month. Two other Orlando-area residents combined to send $15,500 to Fighting for Justice, and 13 Orlando-area residents contributed at least $250 apiece to her official campaign in the last week of July. Many of the smaller donations were from local residents as well.
Worrell’s campaign now has raised $145,000 and spent about $100,000. Fighting for Justice now has raised $119,500 and spent $87,500, most of that on mailers and digital advertising contracted in the last week of July.
This had been expected to be an election in which retired JC 9 Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. would have the fundraising advantage, considering the several decades he had been prominent and working with the powers-that-be in Central Florida.
Perry picked up about $4,300 in the last week of July. His campaign, which received a big boost in May from law firm donations, had raised $172,000 and spent about $125,000 by the end of July.
Ryan Williams, a former assistant state attorney in JC 9 who has been an assistant state attorney in the neighboring Florida’s 5th Judicial Circuit since 2017, reported collecting $3,200 in the last week of July. His campaign had raised about $131,000 and spent about $104,000 by the end of July.
Deborah Barra, the current chief assistant state attorney under State Attorney Aramis Ayala in JC 9, did not report collecting any donations the last week of July. By July 31, her campaign had raised $144,000, including $50,000 she lent her own campaign, and spent nearly all of that, $142,000.
The circuit serves Orange and Osceola counties.
There also is a nonpartisan candidate seeking the seat, so the winner of the August 18 Democratic Party will have to defeat him as well before claiming the office. Jose Torroella has only raised $500 in campaign money, though he has lent his campaign $7,500 of his own money. At the end of July he had about $1,000 left.