Florida Democratic Party gives $25K boost to Jessica Harrington

Jessica Harrington_Traci Koster
Both parties are weighing in heavily on the race.

Democrat Jessica Harrington dominated campaign fundraising this period in the race against Traci Koster for House District 64.

Harrington raised $47,309 from Sept. 5 through Sept. 18, which included a $25,000 donation from the Florida Democratic Party. Harrington also received $5,000 from the Pinellas Democratic Party. Koster collected $18,974 in the same span.

The candidates’ financials show both parties eyeing the race. Last period, Koster collected $25,000 from the Florida Republican Party to help jumpstart her campaign.

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.

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.

In addition to the party donations from the most recent report, Harrington received donations from more than 150 individuals, as well as several $1,000 contributions from political action committees like Floridians for Public Safety, the Florida Education Association and the PCTA-PESPA Fund for Children and Schools.

Koster’s donors this period included several dozen individuals, and significant $1,000 donations from PACs and businesses, including the Ramba Law Group, Protect Our Florida Values, Jobs for Florida, and the Florida Family Medicine PAC.

Since the start of their respective campaigns, Harrington has raised $206,894 and Koster $74,681. Following this period, Harrington leads with about $131,200 cash on hand, while Koster is working with about $53,400 in available cash.

The two candidates both had their largest spending sprees this period, showing they’re getting ready for the critical stretch as the General Election nears.

Harrington dished out $24,890, primarily on advertising and postage, while Koster spent $18,580 mostly on direct mail services.

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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