Lois Frankel leads a pack of Republicans in CD 21 money race
Lois Frankel

Lois Frankel
The Democrat’s campaign netted $156,961 in the most recent fundraising quarter.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach appears well-positioned to defend her Congressional District 21 seat as she leads three Republican challengers in the money race.

The Democrat’s campaign netted $156,961 in the most recent fundraising quarter, bringing her cash on hand to $1.4 million. Frankel, a former state lawmaker and Mayor of West Palm Beach, easily won her last congressional election against internet provocateur Laura Loomer, who became famous for chaining herself to the door of Twitter’s headquarters.

That haul fell short of Frankel’s best so far this campaign cycle — she raised $170,0273 for the quarter reported in July, according to Federal Election Commission reports. But it left her closest competitors, Republicans Dan Franzese and Rod Dorilas, in the dust. Both first-time candidates didn’t even come close to six figures. They will face each other in the Republican Primary, forcing them to expend much of their limited resources before reaching the General Election ballot.

Frankel’s campaign reported $46,830 in expenditures during the most recent quarter, records show. Frankel’s campaign spent $10,000 on fundraising consulting services with 4C Partners in Washington, her biggest itemized expense. Her campaign spent a combined $16,000 on consulting services with three other firms. Her campaign also returned three donations totaling $2,975.

Frankel’s top committee donors, giving $5,000 each, were the United Auto Workers PAC, the Machinists Non-Partisan Political League, United Association Union Plumbers & Pipefitters Vote, and the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

From individual donors, Frankel received the $5,800 maximum donation from Douglas Durst of New York City; Wesley Finch of Boca Raton, who chairs The Finch Group; John F. Koons IV of West Palm Beach; Henry Laufer of Lantana; and Jed Manocherian of New York City.

Franzese, a Palm Beach investor and businessman, raised $32,795 in the last quarter. With loans and $60,505 in spending this past quarter, he reported $76,929 on hand as of Sept. 30.

His campaign website touts his working-class bonafides. He’s the son of a union carpenter who grew up in a blue-collar town to scale the heights of the financial world. He supports former President Donald Trump’s America First agenda, according to his website.

In the most recent quarter, Franzese’s campaign received the maximum donation from Judith Baldwin, a New York City retiree; retail CEO Michelle Barnet of New York City; and Stephen Barnet, a Palm Beach retiree.

His campaign paid $21,000 to Global Strategic Advisory Group in West Palm Beach. That was his campaign’s biggest expense. His campaign also spent $20,000 on advertising production with Steve Grand of Evanston, Illinois. and $12,600 on mail services from New Hampshire-based SCM Associates.

Records show Franzese loaned his campaign $101,514 in April and May, and those loans remain outstanding, according to election records.

Dorilas, a Navy veteran and a lawyer who graduated from Syracuse University law school, is third in the money race. He worked in the U.S. Department of Commerce under Trump, according to his campaign website. His parents are Haitian immigrants.

He, like Franzese, identifies with Trump’s America First agenda. This is his first run for political office.

His campaign raised a total of $28,458 in the most recent quarter and spent $26,464 during the same period. That brings his campaign’s cash on hand to $29,880, according to campaign records.

His campaign’s biggest individual donations came from Houston retiree Isla Reckling, who gave $1,100 and Marilena Lucier, a Colorado retiree, who gave $1,000.

Jeff Buongiorno, another Republican running for CD 21, raised $4,239 in the most recent quarter and loaned his campaign $50,000, bringing the total loans to his campaign to $126,000. His campaign had $121,022 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Any Republican would face an uphill battle in challenging Frankel. The Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index shows the area leans Democrat by 8 percentage points, although redistricting might change that equation.

Campaigns face a Friday deadline to report money raised and spent through Sept. 30.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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