Julie Jenkins refunds $10K after Democratic Party mistakenly donates

Jackie Toledo_Julie Jenkins
Jackie Toledo surpassed the $400K mark.

Republican incumbent Jackie Toledo crossed the $400K mark in her campaign against Democrat Julie Jenkins for House District 60.

Toledo raised $31,990 in the most recent period — an amount that brings her total campaign fundraising to $409,845. Jenkins collected $14,194 in the same span of time, from Sept. 5 through Sept. 18, bringing her total contributions to $136,997.

As far as donors, this period the Florida Democratic Party gave Jenkins a $10,000 boost, which was promptly refunded about four days later. When asked about the hefty refund, Jenkins said the party made the contribution in error, and thus the candidate returned the contribution. The contribution is not included in her $14,000 collection this period.

Jenkins primary contributors were about 200 individuals, as well as several PACs such as Emily’s List and Ruth’s List Florida.

Toledo had about a dozen individual donors, and a couple dozen $1,000 PAC and business contributions from organizations like Liberty Florida, First Coast Conservatives and Molina Healthcare Inc.

With the election approaching, the two candidates are spending big. Toledo spent $28,396 this period — her second highest spree bested only by $30K raised in August 2019. Jenkins mirrored the incumbent in spending in her highest spree, dishing out $26,360.

Jenkins spent most of that money on consulting, while Toledo honed in on media advertising.

Following their period of big spending, Toledo is left with $186,875 cash on hand and Jenkins $88,416.

Jenkins could have a tough battle on her hands against Toledo, who has served as a popular Republican in the Legislature and who has become known for working across the aisle. During the 2019 Legislative Session, Toledo successfully brokered a texting while driving ban that made it a primary offense. This year, Toledo worked with Democrats to add LGBT protections to the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, an effort that failed despite bipartisan support.

However, the race is still a tight one, and a potential upset is not yet out of the question – Jenkins leads the incumbent Representative by six points in a new poll.

St. Pete Polls survey among 466 likely HD 60 voters showed Jenkins leading outside the margin of error 48% to 42% with 10% undecided.

It’s a remarkable shift in a district Toledo won in 2018 by four points and in 2016 by 14 points and where Republicans carry 37% of registered voters compared to just 33.5% for Democrats.

Toledo was first elected to HD 60 in 2016. In 2018, she was reelected with 52% of the vote, while Democratic opponent Debra Bellanti took 48% of the vote — a margin of about 3,650 votes. Jenkins is a long time community leader and advocate with deep roots in the Tampa-based district.

The district has a Republican lean — of its 128,590 voters, 48,310 are Republicans and 43,612 are Democrats. Independent voters are key in the race, with 35,201 voters registered with no party affiliation.

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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