Rep. Chris Latvala brought in $96,000 in November for an eventual bid for Pinellas County Commission, state and local campaign finance records show.
Latvala, who currently represents House District 67 in the Florida Legislature, is not seeking re-election because of term limits. Instead, he plans to run for the Pinellas Commission.
He’s currently filed to run for District 5 in 2024. Commissioner Karen Seel currently represents the district but is not expected to seek re-election. But Latvala also has his eye on a potential 2022 bid for District 4, which would pit him against incumbent Dave Eggers in a competitive GOP Primary.
Whatever Latvala decides, he’ll have the funding to be a formidable candidate.
Between his three funding sources — two political committees and his official campaign account — Latvala has about $170,000 on hand.
Latvala’s Suncoast Better Government Committee raised the most in November, with about $51,000 brought in. That includes $20,000 from the Florida Leadership Committee, a political committee tied to his father, former Sen. Jack Latvala.
Suncoast Better Government Committee also took in $5,000 each from a Stronger Florida political committee, ABC Liquors, Voice of Florida Business PAC and Tennessee-based Worldwide Interactive Network. The Realtors Political Advocacy Committee kicked in $3,000, while the Florida Workers’ Advocates PAC, red-light camera operators American Traffic Solutions and Pennsylvania-based Impact Health each contributed $2,500.
The committee has about $70,000 on hand after about $16,000 in November expenditures, including a $2,000 payment to Tyler Bonneau for campaign services, more than $2,400 to the elder Latvala’s printing business, Gulf Coast Imprinting, $2,680 to Capital Resources in Tallahassee for fundraising consulting, nearly $4,000 for postage and $1,000 each to Robyn Hattaway for her HD 50 campaign and Rep. Randy Fine for his re-election campaign in HD 53. Fine’s political committee donated the same amount to Latvala’s official campaign.
Latvala’s campaign proper brought in more than $30,000 in November, including $1,000 donations from 22 donors. Of the 68 individual contributions to Latvala’s campaign, 37 were for less than $500, with an average contribution of $442.
The account has about $65,000 on hand after spending $1,274 in November, including $616 on accounting services with Cal Compliance in St. Petersburg and $500 for an event sponsorship with the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Latvala’s other political committee, Friends of Chris Latvala, raised $15,000 in November, bringing total contributions there to $26,500 and his cash on hand total to more than $23,000.
The committee took in $10,000 from Stephen South, a private college founder in Knoxville, and $5,000 from Pooches of Bellaire in South Florida.
The committee dropped $600 on campaign services with St. Pete-based Mackwell Art and $405 on accounting services with Cal Compliance.
So far, no one is filed to challenge Latvala in the 2024 race for District 5. But Eggers is seeking re-election next year to District 4.
If Latvala swaps races, as he’s said he might, he would enter with a strong financial advantage.
Eggers added just $3,275 through his campaign account in November and nothing for his affiliated committee, Friends of Dave Eggers. Eggers’ campaign has raised just over $41,000 to date and has about $36,000 on hand. His committee has not yet posted any fundraising activity.
A match-up between Eggers and Latvala would likely center on partisan ideologies. Eggers is known as a moderate Republican and often votes with Democratic colleagues from the dais.
“Eggers is a nice man, and I consider him a friend,” Latvala told Florida Politics in September. “The complaint with him is he doesn’t have the strongest backbone, and he capitulates to the other board members quite a bit.”
“If I were to run, it would be because I believe I would be a stronger Republican voice in north county,” Latvala added.