Republican Rep. Brian Mast has added another $1.2 million for his reelection bid in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. That gives Mast more than $5.2 million raised overall this cycle.
Democratic candidate Pam Keith showed nearly $840,000 raised during the newest period, which covered activity July 30-Sept. 30. She fell about $400,000 short of Mast’s haul during the same span.
Keith emerged to take on Mast after defeating Oz Vazquez in the Democratic primary. As of Sept. 30, she has raised just $1.1 million overall. That puts her more than $4 million short of Mast.
She’s also facing a big deficit in available cash. Mast holds more than $1.7 million as of Sept. 30 for the campaign’s final stretch. Keith retains just over $106,000 as of that date.
More than one-third of Mast’s fundraising total this period — $430,000 — came via WinRed, the online fundraising platform for conservatives. Friends of Matt Gaetz, the campaign committee for Rep. Matt Gaetz, shipped $2,000 toward Mast’s bid.
Mast also courted money from political committees belonging to several other House colleagues including Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Devin Nunes of California and Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania. AT&T’s PAC also sent $3,000 to Mast.
Keith collected money from EMILY’s List, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and the VoteVets PAC, among other groups. She relied on ActBlue — the Democrat’s online fundraising arm — adding more than $545,000 through that platform.
Mast outspent Keith during the period as well by a $1.3 million to $830,000 margin. Mast spent more than $470,000 with Noiseworks Media for digital consulting and ad buys. He spent another $284,000 with Media Placement Services for digital ads.
Mast also paid out $35,000 to campaign manager Rocco LeDonni, a long-time friend of the Congressman. Mast was forced to apologize this year after the South Florida Sun-Sentinel uncovered old posts to LeDonni’s Facebook page where Mast joked about rape and sleeping with 15-year-olds.
As for Keith, she spent $625,000 with Joe Trippi and Associates on advertising and management costs. That made up the bulk of her expenditures for the period. She also showed more than $30,000 in polling expenses with Pathfinder Opinion Research.
A St. Pete Polls survey in late September showed Mast leading Keith 50%-42%. Non-party affiliated candidate K.W. Miller is also competing in the contest.
The Keith campaign did release an internal poll earlier in the week showing her up over Mast by a 45%-43% margin. Publicly-released internal polls should be taken with a dose of skepticism, however. Though the findings could be accurate, campaigns have an incentive to withhold internal polls showing poor results for their candidate and only release favorable polls to the public.
Mast won the open seat in 2016 by more than 10 percentage points. In 2018, Mast again won comfortably by an 8-point margin.
CD 18 covers parts of northern Palm Beach County — including West Palm Beach — and extends into Martin and St. Lucie counties. Candidates and campaign committees faced a Thursday deadline to report all financial activity through Sept. 30.