New candidate Shawn Harrison had a strong opening month after launching his campaign for Senate District 14 in mid-April, collecting nearly $31,000 with hefty GOP-backing as he faces Democratic incumbent state Sen. Janet Cruz.
Harrison, who launched his campaign on April 18, collected $30,850 since entering the race. Cruz out-raised Harrison, amassing $32,093 in April between her campaign and affiliated political committee, Building the Bay.
Despite a large opening month for Harrison, Cruz still leads the fundraising field by miles, accumulating $494,529 in this election cycle alone.
Harrison reported about 36 donors to his campaign in April, including $1,000 in self-funding. Harrison received 29 $1,000 contributions, primarily from conservative political committees including No More Socialism, Conservatives for Good Government, Women Building the Future and Building a Prosperous Florida. Harrison also received $1,000 donations from political committees affiliated with state GOP-leaders Sen. Ed Hooper and Rep. Erin Grall.
Of note, Harrison also received $16,972 worth of in-kind contributions from the Florida Republican Senatorial Committee for research and consulting services.
As for spending in April, Harrison reported dishing out $175 on processing fees.
Cruz’s campaign reported raising $9,543 from 46 contributors in April, including five $1,000 contributions from organizations like Lema Construction Company and Realtors Political Action Committee.
Her political committee, which collected $22,550 last month, saw four donors, including two $10,000 donations from Swope, Rodante P.A. and attorney Nicole Armstrong.
The incumbent’s campaign spent $6,134 in April, mostly on communication consulting and advertising. Her political committee dished out $13,134 on consulting services, mailing campaigns and rental expenses. Her political committee also donated $500 to Jen McDonald’s campaign for newly drawn state House District 65, which covers parts of Tampa Bay.
Cruz will enter May with a hefty $424,330 in cash on hand, while Harrison will start the month with $40,675 in available spending money.
Harrison is the first candidate to enter the race against Cruz. He previously served in state House District 63, but was defeated in 2018 by current state Rep. Fentrice Driskell, a Democrat.
Harrison will likely face a tough race against the incumbent, who has held the Senate seat since 2018. Before that, Cruz also served in the state House from 2010-2018, including as the Minority Leader. Cruz also boasts a strong reputation in Tampa Bay as a cornerstone of the party’s presence.
The district makeup appears to lean slightly Democratic, with 51.8% of the district going to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, and 48.2% supporting Donald Trump — a difference of about 10,000 voters.