Jessica Harrington holds $55K cash lead as Traci Koster gets $25K boost from Florida GOP

Jessica Harrington_Traci Koster
Koster joined the race less than a month ago.

Democrat Jessica Harrington has a $55,774 cash advantage over House District 64 opponent Traci Koster, but the gap is dwindling after a funding boost from the Republican Party of Florida.

Koster, who joined the race less than a month ago, raked in $46,407 in her second campaign finance report, spanning Aug. 22 through Sept. 4, with a $25,000 donation from the Republican Party of Florida. Harrington brought in $25,771 in the same period.

The GOP is working to make sure Koster can catch up on missed time, after qualifying 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.

Harrington is still ahead with $108,814 cash on hand, while Koster maintains $53,040 on hand. Less than two weeks ago, the Democratic candidate was up by about $87,600.

In the most recent report, Harrington received $1,000 contributions from Charlie Crist for Congress, Ruth’s List Florida, as well as from several individuals. However, most were small contributions.

Koster has yet to start spending big. Since her campaign started, Koster has only spent $2,668, compared to Harrington’s $50,770 in expenditures, including $11,821 in this period alone.

In her first report the week of the primaries, the Republican Party donated $2,000 to help Koster 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 against a late entrant.

In 2018, Harrington lost to Grant, 52%-45% — a margin of about 5,600 votes.

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.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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