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ICYMI: Campaign cash updates in NE Florida special elections

On Tuesday, voters in Northeast Florida will learn the Republican candidate who could replace former state Sen. John Thrasher in Senate District 6.

The region – mostly St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties — leans heavily for the GOP, and since the Democrats offered only nominal opposition, the winner will likely be the person filling Thrasher’s shoes after the April 7 general election.

The same is somewhat true for two other special Republican primaries, House Districts 17 and 24, where the political dominoes also fell after Thrasher’s exit. The state Division of Elections released updated campaign finance reports in all three races on Friday.

Senate District 6

For Senate District 6, state Rep. Travis Hutson boosted his coffers with more than $110K in campaign cash in the first three weeks of January. Hutson most recently served House District 24, which includes Flagler County and parts of St. Johns and Volusia counties.

According to updated reports, the Elkton Republican added $110,430 between Jan. 1-22, for a total of $347,255 and $150,000 in loans so far. After spending another $164,522 in the reporting period, Hutson’s overall campaign price tag now stands at $453,012.

Hutson faces two other Republicans in the primary set for Jan. 27, led by fellow state Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, a Ponte Vedra Beach Republican who currently represents District 17, which covers St. Augustine up to the southern border of Duval County.

During the same period, Renuart, a Ponte Vedra Beach Republican, raised a total of $46,650 to bring his total to $139,655. After spending $105,305 in the first three weeks of January, Renuart’s campaign price tag stands at $173,858 – less than half that of Hutson.

Dennis McDonald, the third Republican candidate, has not reported raising any funds as of Dec. 31, and loaned his campaign $6,300.

Whoever wins the GOP primary will face Daytona Beach Democrat David Cox in the special general election on April 7. As of Dec. 31, Cox reported raising only $150.

House District 24

House District 24 hopeful Paul Renner continued collecting mounds of campaign cash, adding another $68,755 during the first three weeks in January, according to newly filed reports.

Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, is entering this Tuesday’s GOP primary with an overall fundraising total of $207,130 as of Jan. 22. He has spent $189,783 so far.

One candidate running against Renner in the primary is St. Augustine Republican Ron Sanchez, whose campaign finance report was pending as of Friday evening. Sanchez has raised a total of $1,950 as of Dec. 31, as well as loaning $6,300 to the campaign.

As for the others, Republican Danielle Anderson raised $400, for a total of $900.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary faces St. Augustine Democrat Adam Morley in the special general election April 7. Morley added another $480 from Jan. 1-22 for a total of $1,053.

House District 17

In the House District 17 Republican primary, Mike Davis took a major leap in his fundraising lead over Cyndi Stevenson during the first two weeks of January.

From Jan. 1-22, Davis, a St. Augustine small business owner, took in another $51,030, far outpacing Stevenson, the St. Johns County commissioner, who raised $10,710.

Davis now takes an overall campaign cash lead with $134,410 through Jan. 22, compared to $90,347 for Stevenson. The most recent reporting period also gives Davis an advantage in on-hand cash, with about $22,650 – versus just over $11K for Stevenson – going into Tuesday’s primary.

Overall, Davis loaned his campaign $22,000 so far and has spent under $134,400. Stevenson gave her campaign $25,000 in loans to date, spending $104,626.

For the remaining field, Republican John R. “Jack” Capra collected $4,450 in the three-week reporting period for a total of $28,600, loaning his campaign another $7,000. No Party Affiliation candidate Judy Stevens took in $1,000 and the report from the write-in candidate Mary Anne Boczek is pending.

Written By

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist, editor and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range included covering news, local government and entertainment reviews for Patch.com, technical articles, and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine as well as advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached at phil.ammann@gmail.com.

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