Democratic Rep. Javier Fernández is leaving plenty of money on the sidelines ahead of his Democratic primary against Daniel Horton-Diaz.
Fernández opted not to spend more than $440,000 between his campaign account and Florida Future, a political committee supporting his bid. That money would help fund what’s expected to be an expensive general election against GOP Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez.
Fernández has to secure the nomination first, however. Make no mistake, he’s spent plenty so far in that effort. His campaign has listed nearly $110,000 in expenses this cycle. Excluding donations to various campaigns and causes, Florida Future has recorded another $175,000 in expenditures.
Those entities spent just over $22,000 in the final financial period, covering Aug. 1-13. Horton-Diaz spent a little over $2,300 during the same span.
That money discrepancy between the Democrats could be seen throughout the primary, as Fernández was consistently the better fundraiser. Horton-Diaz raised just over $20,000 total through the campaign. That’s less than Fernández spent in the final 13 days alone.
Fernández also has the support of state Democrats, securing an early endorsement from the full Senate Democratic caucus. While Horton-Diaz formerly served as a district chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Mucarsel-Powell nevertheless endorsed Fernández in June.
Still, a recent survey from St. Pete Polls put Horton-Diaz within single digits of Fernández, though with a majority of voters still undecided. While Fernández could court most of those undecided voters and advance easily, it’s less certain than one would expect considering fundraising and endorsement information.
While Fernández is electing to carry more than $440,000 forward, Rodriguez is sitting on more than $513,000. She’s also earned support from Republican Senate leadership.
The General Election matchup is one of the highest-profile contests in the state. GOP Sen. Anitere Flores is term-limited and Democrats actually have a slight voter registration advantage in the district. That’s led Democrats to eye the seat as one they could flip this fall.
Nonparty affiliated candidate Celso Alfonso has also qualified in the contest.
The district spans all of Monroe County and part of southern Miami-Dade County. Candidates and political committees faced a Friday, Aug. 14 deadline to report all financial activity through Aug. 13.