Fiona McFarland enters General Election with just $2,700
Fiona McFarland.

Fiona McFarland
Her political committee also has more than $8,000.

Sarasota Republican Fiona McFarland goes into a general election in House District 72 with $2,724 in cash on hand. That’s after a closer-than-expected primary win.

That’s according to Division of Elections reports through Aug. 21.

Now she faces Democrat Drake Buckman, who won the nomination unopposed in the Democrat-held swing seat. Buckman sits on $34,325 in his own bank, though he hasn’t enjoyed the notoriety that comes from a 14-month primary.

Both now face off for a seat held by Rep. Margaret Good, who decided to run for Congress this year rather than run for the seat for the third time in less than three years.

McFarland just spent $243,479 to win the GOP nomination. That compares to $109,640 spent by Donna Barcomb, her most significant intraparty opponent, and $14,745 spent by Jason Miller in the Republican race.

In addition to her campaign account, McFarland controls the political committee Friends of Sarasota, which spent $23,904 on the primary. The committee still holds $8,021 is remaining cash.

That produced final primary results with McFarland clawing out 43.24% of the vote to Barcomb’s 41.77%.

Big bucks were dropped into the contest, one of a few pickup opportunities Republicans see if a cycle where the red team more often will play defense.

Good flipped the district blue in nationally watched special election in February 2018, winning by seven percentage points over Republican James Buchanan. The incumbent then defended the seat the following November, but won by a much closer two-percentage-point margin over former seat holder Ray Pilon.

The district is one that President Donald Trump won by four percentage points in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton on his way to the White House. With the President again on the ballot and turnout expected to be high, Republicans see the chance to take back the territory.

The last time a Republican won the district was in 2016, when Alex Miller defeated a recently-scandal-plagued Ed James by 16 percentage points. Miller later resigned to spend time raising her family.

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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