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.
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.
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.