Republicans hold 2 to 1 advantage in House campaign fundraising

campaign finance
25 Republicans have outraised Democratic challengers by $200K or more.

Republicans running for state House seats had raised and spent more than twice as much money on their campaigns as did Democrats, at least through the Oct. 16 campaign finance reports.

In the 95 House districts that have active races between Republicans and Democrats, the average Republican candidate had raised about $194,000 and spent about $140,000 through Oct 16.

The Democrats in those races had raised an average of about $93,000 and spent about $64,000.

The Republican candidates had about $50,000 cash left in hand on Oct. 16. Democrats averaged $29,000 apiece.

The campaign finance fundraising and spending totals examined by Florida Politics do not include any outside money being spent on any of the campaigns. Many of the candidates have independent political committees, some with hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. In other cases, party legislative campaign committees have been spending big in certain raises.

Republican Rep. Daniel Perez raised the most of any House candidate through Oct. 16, $589,883 in House District 116. Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo raised $541,140 in House District 60; and Republican Rep. David Smith, $519,005 in House District 28.

Democratic challenger Kayser Enneking reported raising the most of any Democrats, $502,863 in House District 21. That is against Republican Rep. Chuck Clemons, who has raised $379,574.

That makes HD 21 in North Florida the state’s highest-stakes House election thus far, with more than $882,000 raised.

The HD 60 race between Toledo and Democratic Challenger Julie Jenkins in Hillsborough County is a $770,000 fight so far in what is shaping up to be a competitive race. Next: Republican Rep. Vance Aloupis and Democratic challenger Franccesca Cesti-Browne have combined to raise $682,000 in the battle for House District 115 in Miami-Dade County.

Among 56 Republican incumbents seeking reelection, Republican Reps. Brett Hage in House District 33 and Anthony Sabatini in House District 32 have gotten the least amount of financial support.

Hage, whose $54,000 raised for this reelection includes $20,000 that he rolled over from his previous campaign, hardly needs it. His district covers much of The Villages, the Republican stronghold in Sumter, Lake, and Marion counties. HD 33 gives Democratic candidate Mamie Dee Melvin a 31-point disadvantage in voter registration. Hage had spent just $28,000 on his reelection.

Melvin has raised $24,000 and spent $18,000

Sabatini is not quite so secure. The controversial freshman seeks to defend his Lake County seat against Democratic challenger Stephanie Dukes in a district that gives Republicans a closer 8-point advantage in voter registration. He has managed to raise just $59,000. He spent about $45,000 through Oct. 16.

Dukes has raised just $21,000 and spent $16,000.

Among incumbent Democrats, Reps. Emily Slosberg of House District 91 and Carlos Guillermo Smith of House District 49 have raised the least amount of money for their reelections. Their positions are more like Hage’s, with fairly strong advantages in voter registration to fall back upon in their districts.

In HD 91, Slosberg has raised just $41,000 and spent $19,000, while Republican challenger Sayd Hussain has raised $32,000 and spent $24,000. Democrats have a 17-point advantage in voter registration in that Palm Beach County district.

In HD 49, Smith has raised $75,000 and spent $22,000, while his Republican challenger Robert Prater has raised $33,000 and spent $31,000. Democrats have an 18-point advantage in voter registration in that Orange County district.

The campaign finance numbers for individual campaigns skew in Republicans’ favor in large part because there are far more Republican incumbents running for reelection than Democrats. Incumbents nearly always have the advantage in fundraising. But not always.

There are 56 Republican state Representatives seeking reelections. All but Clemons in HD 21 have raised more money than their Democratic challengers.

There are only 14 Democrats seeking reelections in races that include Republican opponents, while many other Democratic incumbents went unchallenged by Republicans in the General Election. Three Democrats being challenged Nov. 3 have been out-raised by the Republican challengers: Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil by former Rep. Bob Cortes in House District 30; Rep. Geraldine Thompson by Bruno Portigliatti in House District 44, and Rep. Delores Hogan Johnson by Dana Trabulsy in House District 84.

There are many lopsided money chases. Twenty-five Republicans have out-raised their Democratic opponents by more than $200,000. Four Democrats have raised $200,000 more than their Republican opponents.

Among Republicans, Perez raised $516,000 more than his Democratic challenger Bob Lynch, even as Perez’s Republican Party enjoys an 11-point advantage in voter registration in HD 116 in Miami-Dade County.

Republican Rep. David Smith has raised $402,000 more than his Democratic challenger Pasha Baker in House District 28. Yet Smith might need every penny of that financial advantage. Republicans hold only a 2-point lead in voter registration in the Seminole County district. Democrats, sensing momentum, are funneling money into independent efforts in Seminole County, believing they can raise a wave to carry Democratic women there, Baker included.

The Democrat with the greatest advantage is Allison Tant. She has raised $422,000 more than Republican Jim Kallinger in the battle for the open House District 9 seat in Leon County. That district  provides Democrats a 12-point voter registration advantage.

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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