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Donna Barcomb, Fiona McFarland.


Donna Barcomb kicks spending into gear as battle with Fiona McFarland draws to close

Barcomb started August with more cash, but has been outspend 3-to-1.

Sarasota Republican Donna Barcomb kicked up spending the last week of July. She even started August with a slight cash on hand advantage over Fiona McFarland.

But leading into the Aug. 18 GOP primary in House District 72, McFarland overall has outspent Barcomb nearly 3-to-1.

McFarland spent a total of $198,228 through July 31.

Of that, $18,919 was spent the last week of July. That includes $15,556 on mailers with Data Targeting and another $3,363 on media advertising and campaign consulting with The Max Goodman Agency.

It’s all given McFarland a greater presence on local airwaves and in local mailboxes.

But Barcomb has also clearly rationed for a solid endgame.

She dropped $33,185 in the last week of July, roughly half her total expenditures of $66,660 since entering the race. Nearly all of that was on printing and mailers through SimWins.

The sudden spike in spending came as little shock considering the recent barrage of negative mailers and ads reaching voters. Barcomb in a spate of messaging has questioned if McFarland wants to defund the police and also called into question her professional history with a consulting firm that fought to move manufacturing jobs to China.

Heading into August and the last 18 days of the primary season, Barcomb held $38,830 in cash on hand. McFarland held $30,955.

McFarland has also stepped up attacks on Barcomb for tax votes on the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board and about a Sovereign Citizens-backed proposal she supported on the Sarasota County Charter Review Board.

Sarasota attorney Jason Miller spent just $382 the last week of July, and about $13,745 since entering the race. But he’s hoping avoiding the fray of the McFarland-Barcomb mail war will pay off with Republican voters next week.

Once a relatively low-heat contest, the tone of the race has turned as Republicans prepare to choose a nominee in the battleground district. Incumbent Rep. Margaret Good flipped HD 72 blue in a special election in 2018, but chose to run for Congress instead of running for reelection.

That makes the district, which President Donald Trump won by 4 percentage points in 2016, a rare pickup opportunity for Republicans looking to defend their state House majority.

But Democrat Drake Buckman faces no primary. He reported $26,551 in cash on hand at the start of August.

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

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