Republican Rep. Nick DiCeglie raised more than $70,000 in December for his run to succeed Sen. Jeff Brandes in Senate District 24, a substantial haul ahead of the upcoming Legislative Session, which will temporarily halt election fundraising efforts by lawmakers.
DiCeglie raised $70,790 between his campaign and his affiliated political committee, Economic Freedom Committee, last month. That brings his total fundraising haul to $735,880 since launching his campaign.
“I am beyond thankful that our campaign continues to receive strong support of true patriots from every corner of Pinellas County,” DiCeglie said in a statement. “It shows that, now more than ever, Floridians want conservative leadership that works for them and not the political elite. In the State Senate, I will fight back against radical policies like Critical Race Theory and vaccine mandates, and I will always stand up for the idea of limited government as described in the U.S. Constitution.”
Democratic candidate Eunic Ortiz collected $6,963 in the month of December, bringing her total to $91,892 — not a small sum, but still short of DiCeglie’s total gains.
However, while the Legislature is in Session, sitting lawmakers are barred from fundraising, both for their own campaign accounts and for political committees. This may give Ortiz a chance to start catching up in the money game.
DiCeglie’s campaign account reported 51 contributors last month, made up of two dozen $1,000 donations. Donors who dropped $1,000 on DiCeglie’s campaign include TECO Energy, American Flood Action PC, Allstate Insurance Company, Insuring Florida’s Future PC and the National Association of Insurance.
His political committee saw 12 contributors in December, half of which were $5,000 donations from organizations including CARPAC, Committee of Florida Agents, Heritage MGA, United Group Underwriters and Lema Construction.
DiCeglie’s campaign spent $10,759 in December, with most going to fundraising consulting and about $2,000 going to social media and communications consulting.
His political committee dished out $19,993, most of which also went to finance and communication consulting services. His political committee also posted a $1,000 donation to Hernando School Board candidate Jennifer Licata.
As for Ortiz, her campaign account reported 66 donors, with most donations landing under $250.
Ortiz spent $6,451 in December, with nearly $4,000 going to communications and advertisements, $1,500 going to travel and food and the remainder put toward processing fees.
DiCeglie will start Session with $464,471 in the bank, while Ortiz will go into January with $35,428 in available money.
Currently, DiCeglie faces Republican challenger Timothy J. Lewis in the 2022 Primary Election. Lewis has so far not raised any funds in the race.
SD 24 covers much of Pinellas County, including parts of St. Petersburg, Seminole, Largo, most Gulf Beaches and parts of southern Clearwater. The decennial redistricting process could change those coundaries, however.
Ahead of the 2020 election, the district was home to about 357,000 voters, about 37% of whom are registered Republicans. Democrats held a 33% share of the electorate. In 2018, the last time the seat was on the ballot, Brandes defeated Democrat Lindsay Cross by about 10 percentage points.