South Florida Sen. Perry Thurston has raised $280,000 for his bid for the congressional seat vacated when Rep. Alcee Hastings died earlier this year, his campaign announced Monday.
Thurston, who gave up his Senate leadership post to run, is in a crowded race with a number of other current and former elected leaders to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District. Thurston has blown by the quarter-million mark. But Monday’s report from first quarter fundraising includes a $100,000 donation Thurston made to himself, his campaign says.
“I am extremely grateful for the early support from the community in my community,” Thurston said in a news release.
Hastings, who served in Congress since 1993, died April 6, after a three-year battle with cancer.
Ahead of the Aug. 3 filing deadline, 20 candidates announced their bids for Hastings’ seat, including sitting Democratic Reps. Bobby DuBose and Omari Hardy, and current Broward County Commission members Dale Holness and Barbara Sharief, also Democrats.
Among the major contenders, none except Sharief have filed financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. Sharief has raised $112,230, according to her FEC filing.
So far, voters in the heavily Democratic area have 13 Democrats and four Republicans to choose from in the respective Primary Elections on Nov. 2. The General Election is scheduled for Jan. 11.
Gov. Ron DeSantis was criticized after choosing those election dates and leaving the seat vacant for nine months after Hastings’ death. It leaves a Black majority area of about 800,000 voters unrepresented. The action also could deny House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a crucial vote in the coming months.
Thurston is widely seen as a strong contender for the seat. Also Monday, his campaign announced the endorsement of local elected leaders who are part of the district he currently represents: Broward County Mayor Steve Geller, Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin, Lauderhill Mayor Ken Thurston, Palm Beach County Commissioner Maria Sachs and Lauderhill City Commission members Melissa Dunn and Lawrence Martin.
“I am also deeply humbled by the many municipal leaders that endorsed our campaign,” Thurston said in a news release. “With their support, I am confident we can work towards fighting for a brighter future.”
CD 20 straddles Broward and Palm Beach counties, with majority black neighborhoods near the area’s big cities, including Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.