Just over a week after Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala touted her near-personal high fundraising numbers in the third quarter, Shalala’s Republican challenger has topped her in the money contest once again.
Republican candidate Maria Elvira Salazar added more than $976,000 in the latest reporting period, covering July 30-Sept. 30.
Add in the pre-primary period, where Salazar raised $138,000, and the Republican candidate showed more than $1.1 million raised for the full third quarter, Shalala raised just under $834,000 in the quarter.
As of Sept. 30, Shalala still has a lead in cash on hand. She retains nearly $1.3 million for the campaign’s final weeks. That gives her about a $250,000 advantage over Salazar.
Shalala also outspent Salazar from July 30 to Sept. 30. The incumbent showed more than $1.2 million in expenditures for the period. More than $965,000 went to the Coral Gables-based firm AIDEM for ad expenses.
Salazar listed just over $1.1 million in expenses. The biggest portion of that money — nearly $588,000 — went to Smart Media Group for ad buys.
Election forecasters have Shalala favored in the contest. Both Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato peg Florida’s 27th Congressional District as “likely Democratic.” FiveThirtyEight gives Shalala an 82% chance of winning reelection as of this posting.
“The momentum we have is undeniable, and we’re feeling it across the district,” Salazar said of her fundraising total. “Our community is tired of corrupt politicians like Donna Shalala benefiting themselves while in Washington rather than helping their districts. Donna Shalala has broken the law and broken our trust.”
Salazar is referring to Shalala’s failure to disclose stock sales under the 2012 STOCK Act. Shalala failed to submit timely reports on those sales, though arguing she sold the stocks to remove conflicts of interest while she served in Congress. Salazar has released an ad asserting Shalala “broke the law to enrich herself off coronavirus.” The Salazar campaign has not given evidence to support that claim.
Former state Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas has also filed a complaint alleging Salazar has failed to disclose required information regarding a donor’s employer and occupation. “The incomplete and disorderly filings submitted by SFC also suggest that it may have received contributions from individuals in excess of the legal maximum of $2,800 per election,” the complaint alleges
The 2020 contest is a rematch of 2018. Shalala won the open seat last cycle, defeating Salazar by 6 percentage points.
Candidates and campaign committees faced a Thursday deadline to report all financial activity through Sept. 30.