Outside spending continues at a furious clip in CD 19 as Election Day nears

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Americans For Prosperity drops six figures boosting Byron Donalds.

Spending by outside groups continues to pour into Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

Americans for Prosperity’s political arm, AFP Action, spent $111,952 to promote Naples Republican Byron Donalds, one of nine candidates running for the GOP nomination. The center right PAC, connected to super-donor Charles Koch, endorsed Donalds in July. More than $62,100 went to canvassing expenses, with other funding going toward digital ad production and political mailers in the district. The filing was disclosed in an Aug. 14 notice.

The spending showed up in 48-hour spending disclosures with the Federal Elections Commission. They weren’t the only group aiming to influence CD 19 voters before final votes get cast in the Republican primary Tuesday.

The American Liberty Fund on Aug. 14 disclosed putting in $21,236 for digital production and advertising, all of it earmarked for opposing Cape Coral Republican Dane Eagle. The group is tied to Topper Lewis, the president of Jupiter-based Fast Food Systems, and previously spent money promoting Donalds in the race.

A new player in the district, the Washington, D.C.-based New Journey PAC, spent $20,482 on online voter contact supporting Donalds. The conservative PAC aims to encourage a realignment of Black voters behind conservative values. If elected, Donalds could be the only Black Republican in Congress, as Rep. William Hurd, the chamber’s only Black GOP caucus member now serving, is not seeking reelection.

Concerned Conservatives, a Tampa-based Super PAC, on Aug. 15 reported $6,800 to support Eagle. Results of that spending are already visible in digital advertising. It also spent $2,050 boosting Eagle on Aug. 13, when it also chipped $2,050 apiece to hit Naples Republicans Casey Askar, William Figlesthlaer and Donalds. Another $4,361 went to bashing Figlesthaler the day prior.

Honesty America, a Super PAC connected to Askar, on Aug. 13 spent $13,268 on media placements dinging Donalds. Over the course of the race, the group has funded negative ads nicking Donalds, Figlesthaler and Eagle at various moments.

And frequent spender Club For Growth Action on Aug. 13 burned through another $10,607, all beating up on Askar in the final days of the race. The conservative group endorsed Donalds in June and since then has been one of the booming presences in the race.

Last updated on August 18, 2020

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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