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Fiona McFarland, Drake Buckman

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Fiona McFarland now on even financial footing with Drake Buckman in HD 72

Her campaign now leads in cash on hand, but his political committee has more money.

Fiona McFarland reported a significant influx in donations, closing the cash gap with Drake Buckman in House District 72.

The Sarasota Republican took in $38,290 between Sept. 5 and 18. Buckman collected $13,610 over the same time frame.

Since filing early last year, McFarland has raised a substantial $293,003 to run in the battleground district. But she used up more than a quarter-million of that winning the Republican primary. That left her, until recently, with a cash disadvantage to Buckman, who has raised just $95,905 but avoided any primary.

But after the recent infusion of resources, McFarland reports $58,182 on hand to Buckman’s $55,988.

Additionally, McFarland’s Friends of Sarasota political committee raised another $5,000, all courtesy of venture capitalist Howard Cox, and now has $12,521 in the bank. Buckman’s The Sunshine Fund cashed a $6,000 check from Flippable’s Florida Victory Fund, bringing its total to $16,000 waiting to be spent.

That puts both HD 72 candidates within $1,300 of one another in available dollars, each with under $72,000 cash on hand. So with near equal financial footing, the candidates fight for an open seat now held by Margaret Good, a Democrat who held onto this seat in 2018 by only 1,215 votes. Good is now running for Congress.

On top of donations, McFarland also saw $17,500 worth of in-kind support from the Republican Party of Florida, through polling and campaign research.

As far as checks go, money flowed in from political committees, including $1,000 donations from Senate hopeful Jim Boyd’s Building On Your Dreams and the Rep. Jayer Williamson-associated 21st Century Public Servant, as well as one from a realty firm owned by Rep. James Buchanan. Individual business leaders such as Myakka City agriculture leader Paul Bispham, lobbying firm Rubin Turnbull and business consultant Brittany Riner made maximum $1,000 contributions.

Buckman, who for his part has focused on individual donors, reports just a few $1,000 donations, all from individuals. Those include Sarasota retirees Catherine Cooper and Joan Geyer and Longboat Key retirees Johnathan and Kristina Berg.

Written By

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 jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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