Polls have shown Rep. John Rutherford defeating his Democratic opponent handily in Florida’s 4th Congressional District, but fundraising tells its own story.
In terms of donations, Democrat Donna Deegan outraised the second-term Republican legislator in the third quarter of 2020. All told, she has outraised Rutherford for three of the last four quarters.
Deegan raised $350,000 in the three months ending on September 30, as her campaign trumpeted in a press release last week.
Rutherford, meanwhile, was quieter about his haul … and with good reason, as Deegan outraised Rutherford by more than a two-to-one margin in the three months ending September 30.
The incumbent brought in just $130,000, and he closed out the reporting period with just over $460,000 on hand, according to records the campaign provided to the Federal Elections Commission Wednesday.
As of the end of Q2, Deegan had just under $300,000 on hand, but more current COH numbers weren’t immediately available on the federal database as of this writing. What’s clear is that she will have the resources to stay up on television through the election, giving her an inroad to at least close the margins in what was drawn to be a Republican easy-path district.
The most recent public poll of the race in CD 4, via University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory, shows Rutherford as the choice of 57% of the 565 likely voters queried earlier this month, with Deegan backed by 38% of survey respondents.
The district, centered in Duval County and extending north to Nassau County and south to St. Johns County, has a 20 point GOP lean, with 48% of the voters registered Republican and just 28% as Democrats. The remainder are third party or no party affiliation.
Despite the heavy Republican lean, Deegan’s high profile has led to a debate with the Democrat Wednesday evening on WJXT-TV.
In previous races, Democrats weren’t successful in bids to get Rutherford on the debate stage.