While the likelihood of a district containing deep-red Nassau County going Democratic in a down-ballot race is remote, a candidate nonetheless is making a concerted fundraising push.
Joshua Hicks, running in House District 11, has spent much of the summer chipping away at the sizable resource advantage held by Rep. Cord Byrd, a conservative Republican seeking his third term.
The latest tallies show the candidate will go into the stretch run with some resources in his long-shot challenge in what is a majority-Republican district in Northeast Florida.
In the fortnight between Aug. 21 and Sept. 4, the last date for which contributions and expenditures have been filed, Hicks reported a two-week total of $14,866 in hard money contributions, with donations from various local Democratic politicians and operatives, such as Congressional hopeful Donna Deegan and consultant Obi Umunna.
Additionally, in spite of the Republican composition in the district, the Florida Democratic Party helped out with $1,500.
Hicks has raised $63,301, and has just over $48,000 of that sum on hand.
The candidate offered a victory lap statement, saying “our growing momentum and widespread support show that the First Coast community is ready for new leadership.”
The growth in momentum notwithstanding, the hill Hicks hopes to climb is still steep and time is short, and Byrd holds the ultimate cash advantage, despite only having raised $6,675 in the two weeks ending Sept. 4.
All told, Byrd has raised nearly $95,000 and retains roughly $78,000 of it. But the slowish fundraising has been a trend since July. The last period for which Byrd had a five-figure haul was the two weeks ending July 10.
Byrd has a political committee, “1845,” but it’s been in idle all year, with just $4,500 in contributions since the end of January. It holds just over $27,000.
District 11 is a historically conservative redoubt in Northeast Florida, encompassing deep-red Nassau County and traditionally Republican beach communities in Duval.
It has been an easy hold for the Republican Party, at least until now, with GOP voters comprising nearly 73,000 of the 137,000+ registered voters.
Byrd faced his toughest battle thus far in the 2016 GOP primary, defeating candidates who had more fundraising and establishment support.
Since going to Tallahassee, he has burnished his right-wing bona fides, backing legislation banning sanctuary cities and a version of an E-Verify program, two movement conservative priorities. Byrd also organized a “flotilla” of boaters supportive of the White House that scored an attaboy Tweet from President Donald Trump.