Stephanie Murphy collects $800K as Republicans stake CD 7 challenges

Stephanie Murphy
Republicans Anthony Sabatini, Cory Mills each hold more than $240K in the bank.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy relied once again on strong political action committee support this spring to add $800,000 to her reelection campaign in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

Meanwhile, two Republicans, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini and Cory Mills, made strong campaign finance showings for a Primary battle in the greater Orlando district. Each held campaign funds of more than $240,000 by July, according to new reports posted by the Federal Election Commission.

Murphy’s haul in April, May, and June, some of it coming while she toyed with a possible U.S. Senate run, was highlighted by $453,000 provided by PACs. That continued demonstrating the moderate Democrat’s strong backing from many business sectors, notably insurance, hospitality, banking, health care, and commercial space. She received 175 PAC donations in the three-month period, averaging more than $2,500 per check.

With that, Murphy, of Winter Park, entered July with about $2 million in the bank.

Sabatini, the libertarian-conservative from Howey-in-the-Hills, switched from a campaign for Florida’s 10th Congressional District to CD 7 during the quarter. In April, May, and June, he raised $156,000, almost all of from individual donations

With the money he brought forward from the first quarter of 2021, Sabatini held $243,000 in his campaign fund at the end of the second quarter.

In Mills’ first quarter of campaigning, the defense consultant and conservative TV commentator fueled his own campaign with $201,500 in personal loans. He raised more than $54,000 from donors.

Consequently, Mills, of Winter Park, entered the third quarter of 2021 with $244,000 in the bank.

A third Republican, Brady Duke of Oviedo, raised more money than Mills, $68,000, though he did not flush his campaign fund any further with personal money.

Duke had about $54,000 in the bank on July 1.

The Republican Primary field in CD 7 is crowded, with three more candidates. Jeremy Liggett of Longwood raised about $8,000 during his second quarter of campaigning, and entered July with just over $1,000 in the bank. Joseph Cavagna of Casselberry raised almost $9,000 in the quarter, but spent it all, ending the quarter with no money on hand. Erika Benfield of DeBary entered the contest this week, so did not report for the second quarter.

CD 7 covers Seminole County and parts of northern, eastern, and central Orange County. It has evolved from red, to purple, to leaning blue in recent years, and Murphy has won two reelections easily. However, it is expected to be a target for Republican lawmakers when they redistrict Florida. It could be redrawn to become a Republican district once again.

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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