Kelly Skidmore HD 81 defense adds $22K in October with help from medical, pharma, legal sectors

So far, she's unopposed.

Democratic Rep. Kelly Skidmore added $22,000 last month to defend her Florida House seat representing District 81. Much of it came from the medical sector and from law firms, lobbyist and consulting groups.

Skidmore held just over $53,000 on Oct. 31. Nearly all of that came through her campaign. Her political committee, Floridians for Early Education, has added only $1,500 since she won office in November. The PC could become more active once another candidate enters the race. So far, Skidmore is unopposed.

Several pharmaceutical companies and groups chipped in with $1,000 donations, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, New York City-based biopharma giant Bristol Myers Squibb, Swiss pharma company Novartis, and Merck & Co., the manufacturer of the first pill to treat COVID-19.

Pfizer Inc., which has developed its own COVID-19 pill in addition to a highly effective vaccine, gave $500, as did the American subsidiary of Japanese corporation Astrellas Pharma.

Oakland-based chiropractic lobbying group ChiroPAC and Hospital Corporations of America, which operates as HCA Healthcare, gave $1,000 apiece. A political committee representing the Florida Dental Association gave $500.

Law firms Greenberg Traurig and Gunster gave $1,000 each. So did RSA Consulting and ASG Consulting, which list the same Bradenton address in Skidmore’s filings with the Florida Division of Elections.

Capitol Alliance Group, a government relations consulting group whose clients include several Elon Musk companies, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida and the Florida Hemp Association, gave $500.

Florida mega-grower U.S. Sugar and its subsidiary, Southern Gardens Citrus, both gave $1,000.

Other donations included $1,000 checks from Publix Super Markets, Duke Energy Corp. and the Real Property Probate and Trust section of the Florida Bar.

Skidmore’s spending was sparse. She spent $658 on an event at Happy Motoring!, a Tallahassee social spot carved out of a defunct 1950s Esso service station. Another $500 went to the PC, How We All Win.

Skidmore returned to the House after representing parts of Palm Beach County from 2006 to 2010. The HD 81 seat opened in May 2020 after then-Rep. Tina Polsky swapped races for a successful run at Senate District 29.

Skidmore, who works in private as a public relations specialist for the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, won with more than 59% of the vote last November, defeating Republican Saulis Banionis in the left-leaning district.

Her reelection platform prioritizes COVID-19 emergency preparedness, fixing Florida’s “broken” unemployment system, supporting gun safety legislation, women’s rights to reproductive sovereignty and equal pay, expanding Medicaid, paying teachers more, protecting the environment and water supply, and building the economy and jobs market.

Last month, she took on a new project: ending “prison gerrymandering” in Florida.

HD 81 covers parts of Palm Beach County near Lake Okeechobee, including Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay.

Candidates faced a Wednesday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through October.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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