Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister continues to report big fundraising numbers in his reelection bid.
Chronister, who has held the office since 2017, brought in $60,700 in the most recent finance period, which spanned Aug. 22 through Sept. 4.
The incumbent still has $106,892 cash on hand, putting him $90,656 ahead of NPA candidate Ron McMullen, the Republican’s closest competitor in the race as far as finances.
Chronister’s affiliated political committee, Friends of Chad Chronister, also collected $55,000 this period, including a $50,000 donation from businessman Edward DeBartolo Jr., his father-in-law and the former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in a gambling fraud scandal after building one of the most successful NFL teams in history.
The committee has raised $1.07 million total, and has spent $367,256, including $114,462 this finance period alone. The committee spent $109,468 this period alone on mail services.
McMullen only has $16,236 cash on hand, only raising $6,450 this period and giving Chronister a hefty monetary lead.
Chronister has raised $396,025 since the start of his campaign and spending $289,133.
Chronister’s campaign donors for this period comprised primarily of several dozen individuals making large donations; however, several businesses also contributed, including Brewington Towing & Recovery in Plant City, Jaguar of Tampa, Elder Ford of Tampa, Romeo and Elder Hyundai and Hooters Management Corporation.
There’s a third candidate in the race, Democrat Gary Pruitt, although his campaign’s viability is questionable with only $73 cash on hand and fundraising numbers only reaching $13,741.
Pruitt ran against Chronister four years ago, losing 55% to 45%. Pruitt ran critical of Chronister’s leadership, a tactic that’s likely to be similar this time around.
As the incumbent Sheriff, that could be Chronister’s most difficult hurdle to overcome this election. Nationwide, people are protesting police brutality and institutional racism amid headlines about officer-involved shootings including the most recent Jacob Blake shooting and the George Floyd killing that sparked nationwide unrest.
It’s a tough balancing act for Hillsborough’s only remaining countywide elected Republican.
Chronister, in his GOP primary, faced a bevy of criticism among those arguing he was a RINO — Republican in name only. Chronister donated to former President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party previously.
Still, with General Election campaigns moderating from the more partisan primary campaigns and with Chronister’s deep resources, he’s in comfortable position for reelection.