Roger Lolly goes on HD 78 spending spree
Roger Lolly and family.

Roger Lolly family
Last-minute mail blitz seeks to turn the tide against Jenna Persons.

Fort Myers Republican Roger Lolly dropped nearly $60,000 on a mail campaign ahead of the House District 78 Republican primary.

Lolly in recent weeks stopped raising money while spending little ahead of the Aug. 18 vote. After a Florida Politics-commissioned poll showed him trailing Jenna Persons, it seemed an open question if the campaign would press forward.

But the latest reports show Lolly spent $58,500 in the last week of July. All of that was through campaign consultant SimWins. About $1,600 went toward internal polling, but the rest all went to print mail.

Meanwhile, he’s touted an A-rating from the National Rifle Association and an endorsement from the Everglades Trust.

Mailers have also appeared that attack Persons for being a business partner with Bruce Strayhorn, who raised campaign money for Hillary Clinton.

That said, he’s spending out of pocket now. The campaign raised $48,475, and since the start of June cashed just one check, a $1,000 donation from lobbyist Paul Mitchell. He pumped $140,000 of his own money into the race.

After the late July spending, Lolly spent a total $145,193 through the end of July.

That’s still less than Persons has spent overall. She’s put about $247,476 into the race total.

In the same week Lolly made the heavy investment in mailers, Persons spent $25,329.

That included a $17,000 media spend through Strategic Media Placement, along with more than $7,900 in direct mail through Public Concepts.

Persons, with a lead of 40% in the most recent St. Pete Polls survey to Lolly’s 21%, should have the edge heading into the primary.

However, she began the month with just $3,072 left in her campaign account. Lolly started August with $43,282.

That’s his own money at this point, so the question may simply be how much he’s willing to spend. The recent spate of mailers verified he’s willing to put his own cash on the line.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical consultant Charlie Lynch reported no financial activity for the last two weeks of July. Having raised $3,200 since entering the race in December, he started the month with just $772 on hand.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Shawn Michael Williams, who had $4,219 in cash on hand at the end of July.

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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