Matt Willhite adds $23K in July for Palm Beach County Commission bid, topping field for first time

willhite
Michelle McGovern had been outpacing Willhite.

Rep. Matt Willhite raised more than $23,000 in July for his bid for Palm Beach County Commission, putting him atop the field in money raised during the month.

Michelle McGovern had led Willhite — and the rest of the field — in money raised each of the last three months. She pulled in nearly $42,000 in outside cash in April and tacked on a $10,000 loan. McGovern raised more than $30,000 in May and nearly $26,000 in June.

But in July, her fundraising total dropped to just $7,000. Sylvia L. Sharps raised just $250 for the month, while Sara Baxter raised $225.

McGovern, Sharps and Willhite are all running as Democrats in the race to replace term-limited Commissioner Melissa McKinlay. Baxter is the field’s lone Republican.

McKinlay is endorsing McGovern and has helped her raise money.

Willhite raised more than $12,000 through his campaign account in July. Willhite is an experienced firefighter who backed a 2019 law requiring firefighters’ health plans to cover out-of-pocket expenses for cancer treatments. His July report showed more than $5,600 in contributions from firefighters or firefighter organizations.

Willhite brought in another $11,000 via his political committee, Floridians for Public Safety. That includes $10,000 from Laura DeLuca, a Wellington-based doctor.

Though McGovern has raised more cash than Willhite since the two declared their respective candidacies in April, Willhite maintains a cash on hand lead thanks to his political committee, which holds plenty of cash from prior House campaigns.

Willhite is sitting on just over $172,000 between his campaign and committee accounts. McGovern holds just under $105,000. Sharps has just over $5,000, while Baxter retains just over $2,700.

McGovern and Willhite are the two biggest names running in the District 6 contest. McGovern is a veteran of former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s office. She spent more than a decade working as Nelson’s regional director in West Palm Beach. She then served as Nelson’s state director.

Willhite won his third term in the House this past November and decided to forgo a fourth and final term to pursue the District 6 seat on the Palm Beach County Commission.

Candidates and political committees faced a Tuesday deadline to report all financial activity through July 31.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


One comment

  • Anna

    August 13, 2021 at 6:26 pm

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