Bruno Portigliatti ramps up spending in HD 44 contest

Geraldine Thompson_Bruno Portigliati
Now Democrat Rep. Geraldine Thompson has more cash for stretch run.

For the second-straight two-week period, Republican Bruno Portigliatti spent more than $30,000 on various advertising in his bid to oust Democratic Rep. Geraldine Thompson in House District 44.

But now Portigliatti is running low on cash, while Thompson is not, at least not yet.

Portigliatti raised $12,800 in the latest two week period. That included 11 $1,000 checks, but just 19 total donations. Now that he has spent more than $143,000, most of that in the past month, he was holding $25,855 in the bank on the most recent reporting date, Sept. 18, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

Yet he spent $38,000 on new advertising in the most recent reporting period, and about $34,000 in the two weeks before that, so his campaign is pushing its messages.

The latest campaign finance reports show Thompson, who has raised $116,000 for her reelection campaign, was sitting on nearly three times as much cash as Portigliatti, who has raised $169,000 over the past year.

The latest reports show Thompson picking up $20,864, including $7,500 from the Florida Democratic Party, eight maximum $1,000 contributions from others, and a total of 53 donations, in the two weeks leading up to Sept. 18.

She only spent $16,000, including about $13,500 on advertising, mainly on mailers, in the past period. That left her with $70,685 on Sept. 18.

The two are battling for SD 44, which was held by Republicans for decades but has been trending deep purple. Thompson, a former state Senator who operates a non-profit African-America heritage museum in Orlando, won the seat in 2018. Portigliatti, an Orlando businessman who runs a private Christian university, first ran for the seat in a Special Election in 2017 but lost in the Republican primary.

HD 44 covers most of southwestern Orange County. It takes in lower-income communities on Orlando’s southwest side, some of the most affluent areas in Central Florida in Windermere and Bay Hill, all or parts of the suburbs of Oakland, Ocoee and Winter Garden, and almost the entire tourism corridor of Orange County, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, and International Drive.

The voting populous is evenly split, with Republicans holding a 1-point advantage in voter registration, according to the latest book closing available through the Florida Division of Elections.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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