Democrat Jessica Harrington is up by about $87,600 following Traci Koster’s recent entrance into the race for House District 64.
Of course, Koster has been in the race for less than two weeks.
Koster qualified for the race on Aug. 17, taking the place of James Grant. Grant has represented the district since 2010, but resigned the week before the Florida primaries to take a job as Florida’s Chief Information Officer. Republicans quickly turned to Koster, who has won accolades for her pro bono legal work.
Grant hadn’t faced a challenger in the primary, meaning he had already won the GOP nomination. State law allows the boards for the county Republican clubs affected to select a replacement nominee.
The timing was good news for Koster, who was able to enter the race in time to ensure her name will be on the November ballot. Had she entered after ballots were printed, Grant’s name would have been on the ballot with a separate notice to voters that a vote for him would actually be a vote for her.
But the timing also leaves her with not a lot of time to catch up. Despite that deficit, Koster is already on her way, though.
She raised $9,300 in the most recent finance period, her first campaign report for this election. She hit the ground running, spending $1,870 that same week, which spanned Aug. 14 through Aug. 21.
Koster received a big boost from the Republican Party of Florida, which donated $2,000 this period to help her kick off her campaign against Harrington. However, Democrats aren’t backing down in this race either — Harrington received an $8,000 donation from the Florida Democratic Party and $5,000 from the Pinellas Democratic Party in the same period.
In a race that was previously considered a long-shot, Democrats are likely seeing an opportunity to win the race against a late entrant.
Harrington raised $21,467 this period, bringing her total fundraising to $133,813 since the start of her campaign in April 2019. It was by far her most productive fundraising period so far, further indication the party sees an opening.
So far, Harrington has spent $38,949, including $3,364 this period.
Koster currently has $7,431 cash on hand, Harrington has $95,064 cash on hand.
In 2018, Harrington faced off against Grant, who took 52% of the vote. Harrington received 44% — a margin of about 4,000 votes, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The district leans right. Of the district’s 123,943 voters, 48,896 are Republicans and 39,364 are Democrats. The district also has 1,557 third party voters, and 34,126 voters with no party affiliation. The district covers parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.