Republican Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez continues to build up a large cash lead over her Democratic opponent as she seeks the Senate District 39 seat.
Rodriguez added nearly $88,000 in the most recent fundraising period covering Sept. 5-18. She’s competing against Democratic Rep. Javier Fernández and non-party affiliated candidate Celso Alfonso for the open SD 39 seat.
Rodriguez pulled in nearly $51,000 through her campaign. Her political committee, Ethics and Honesty in Government, added another $37,000.
She now retains close to $680,000 in those two accounts for the final weeks of the campaign. Fernández is sitting on just under $175,000 between his campaign and Florida Future, a political committee backing his bid. Alfonso holds less than $1,000.
The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee also pitched in more than $47,000 in in-kind contributions to assist the Rodriguez campaign. Those costs covered consulting and research services.
The Senate Democrats’ counterpart offered $16,000 in in-kind costs to Fernández, helping cover staff and event costs.
Fernández actually posted a far larger raw dollar amount in terms of money added to his two campaign accounts. While Rodriguez collected nearly $88,000, Fernández added around $230,000 from Sept. 5-18.
That raw number doesn’t tell the whole story, however. Much of that money — more than $180,000 — was brought in through his associated PC, Florida Future. Florida Future then turned around and sent $300,000 to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. That means much of the Fernández fundraising total was simply passed through his committee and wasn’t actually used for campaign expenses.
As to those actual expenses, Florida Future spent $7,500 on finance consulting with The Oblander Group. That made up the bulk of the Democrat’s spending efforts in the nearly two-week span.
Rodriguez was far more active on the spending front. Her campaign alone spent more than $55,000 during the period. The biggest chunk went to The Miranda Group. Rodriguez spent more than $32,000 with the firm on advertising and voter contact expenses.
Her campaign’s remaining expenses went toward various campaign costs such as meals and supplies, as well as consulting and advertising expenses. Her PC sent nearly $18,000 more to The Miranda Group for voter contact costs. The committee spent more than $8,000 on additional consulting costs.
That activity shows Rodriguez is taking advantage of her fundraising lead as she attempts to hold the SD 39 seat for Republicans. GOP Sen. Anitere Flores is term-limited, leading to a highly-contested campaign for the open seat.
While Republicans have held the seat, Democrats hold a slight voter registration advantage in the district. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also won the district in 2016. That’s given Democrats hope they can flip the seat and has made the race one of the highest-profile in the state.
The district covers all of Monroe County and part of southern Miami-Dade County. Candidates and political committees faced a Friday deadline to report all financial activity through Sept. 18.