Rep. Nick DiCeglie raised $35,000 last month for his campaign to succeed Sen. Jeff Brandes in Pinellas County-based Senate District 24.
DiCeglie, an Indian Rocks Beach Republican, currently serves as the state Representative for House District 66. He has held the seat since 2018.
His path to the Senate is mostly clear as Brandes faces term limits and SD 24 — assuming the district remains favorable after reapportionment — has a strong Republican lean.
If he does end up facing a major challenger, he’ll likely have the cash to remain competitive. June saw him pull in $25,000 for his affiliated political committee, Economic Freedom Committee, and $10,560 for his official campaign account.
The committee cash came in by across three checks — one for $10,000 from Joseph White, a Largo resident who works in plumbing sales; another for $5,000 from NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power & Light; and a third from the Advancing Florida Agriculture political committee, which is affiliated with Sen. Ben Albritton, a Wauchula Republican who has his eyes on the 2024-26 Senate presidency.
Economic Freedom Committee has raised $317,600 since it was founded in 2018. About $222,000 of that was raised during the current election cycle, including a $101,500 haul in February, just ahead of the 2021 Legislative Session.
The committee spent a little under $10,000 for the month, with the largest expenditure being a $4,000 check to Jacksonville-based Isaac Communications for consulting work. Picotte and Porter picked up $3,410 for fundraising consulting and another $852 to cover fundraising expenses. Robert Watkins & Company received $431 for accounting duties.
The ledger showed a $182,385 balance on June 30.
The official campaign took in 16 checks. They included nine $1,000 contributions, which is the maximum allowable give in state legislative races. Among those donors were the Florida Health Care PAC, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and a political committee tied to Sen. Ed Hooper.
The account had $69,942 in the bank on June 30. Combined with the committee, DiCeglie has $252,327 on hand.
DiCeglie’s only primary challenger so far is Timothy Lewis, a Largo Republican who works as a grocery clerk. He entered the race in January and reported $107 worth of in-kind contributions from himself for 3,400 copies of a document, presumably petition forms to avoid forking over the $1,781.82 fee to appear on the ballot.
University of Florida adjunct professor Eunic Ortiz, a Democrat, announced a run for the seat in late June, though her campaign not yet released its fundraising numbers for last month. When it drops, it’ll cover only the last week of June.
There have been murmurs that Republican former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker may enter the race, though no paperwork had been filed as of Sunday and he hasn’t been raising committee money either — his former fundraising vehicle, Seamless Florida, was zeroed out and shut down after he narrowly lost to current St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman in November 2017.
The current SD 24 covers most of southern Pinellas County, less the southeastern corner that includes much of St. Petersburg proper.
Ahead of the 2020 election, the district was home to about 357,000 voters, about 37% of whom are registered Republicans. Democrats held a 33% share of the electorate. In 2018, the last time the seat was on the ballot, Brandes defeated Democrat Lindsay Cross by about 10 points.
The Republican Primary is set for Aug. 23, 2022. The General Election follows on Nov. 8.