Once again, early indications suggest the Senate seat representing Seminole County is going to be an all-out campaign war, engaging party machines and possibly millions of dollars.
This time. Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur heads toward the General Election as the incumbent in the newly drawn Senate District 10, after having won the battle in 2020 over Democrat Patricia Sigman in the old Senate District 9. The Democrats this time are turning to Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil of Maitland in SD 10.
As happened early in the 2020 election that wound up becoming an expensive and hostile campaign war, both party-favored candidates are receiving early polling, consulting and staff support from their parties.
In April, Goff-Marcil tallied nearly $15,000 in in-kind support from the Florida Democratic Party, while Brodeur, of Sanford, received about $17,000 from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.
That’s how the 2020 cycle started for Sigman and Brodeur.
By the time the 2020 General Election rolled around, Sigman had spent $476,000 in her campaign and received another $329,000 in party in-kind support. Brodeur spent $1 million and received another $731,000 in party support. There also were large amounts of outside spending in SD 9, including from dark-money groups. And there was a “ghost” independent candidate supported by dark money campaigns. Brodeur won SD 9 in 2020 50% to 48%, with independent candidate Jestine Iannotti peeling off 2% of the vote.
There has been no such activity yet in any of the other Senate election campaigns around Central Florida. In fact, in April there was hardly any activity in any of those campaigns.
Republican Sens. Tom Wright and Dennis Baxley raised little money in April while facing only nominal opposition. Republican Sen. Debbie Mayfield and Democratic Sens. Linda Stewart and Victor Torres also raised almost nothing in April, while facing no opposition. And Democratic Reps. Kamia Brown and Geraldine Thompson showed little campaign activity in April heading toward their Primary Election battle for an open seat.
The new SD 10 may have more of a Democratic base than the old SD 9 seat Brodeur won in 2020. The old district leaned slightly toward Republicans in voter registration.
Redistricting kept Seminole as the bulk of the new SD 10 but swapped in a portion of northern Orange County, which leans Democrat, in place of the old SD 9’s portion of southern Volusia County, which leans Republican.
Based on the results of the last couple of General Elections, SD 10 should hold a slight Democratic lean.
As he did in 2020, Brodeur is starting with a huge campaign finance advantage. And as was the case in her House elections, Goff-Marcil’s fundraising is well behind that of her opponent.
In April, Brodeur raised just $4,130 in campaign cash for his official re-election campaign. His independent committee Citizens for Solutions raised $7,500 and his independent committee Freedom and Liberty Fund raised $8,675.
Goff-Marcil’s official committee did a little better, but marginally so, raising $8,430 in cash in April. She also opened an independent political committee, Joy for Florida, which deposited its first $8,675.
Her campaign entered April with about $26,000, and Joy For Florida had about $7,700.
In other Senate elections around Central Florida:
— Wright, of New Smyrna Beach, showed no campaign finance activity in April in his re-election bid in what is now Senate District 8, spanning parts of northern Brevard and southern Volusia counties. He picked up a Democratic opponent in late April, perennial candidate Richard Dembinsky of Port Orange, who also reported no campaign finance activity for the month.
— Baxley, of Eustis, deposited $1,085 in his campaign account in April, a modest sum but almost as much as his Democratic opponent in the new Senate District 13, Stephanie Dukes, has raised to date. Baxley’s campaign account held about $26,000 at the start of May. Dukes, of Clermont, raised $140 in April. At the end of the month, she held only about $200 in her bid for SD 13, which covers Lake County plus the Walt Disney World region of southwestern Orange County.
— Brown, of Ocoee, added $120 to her run in the new Senate District 15, which covers northwestern Orange County. She entered May with about $64,000 in the bank. Thompson, of Orlando, brought in $1,875 for her bid in SD 15, which has an open seat because incumbent Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy is running for Congress. Thompson ended April with about $21,000 in hand.
— Stewart, of Orlando, added only $550 to her re-election campaign in the new Senate District 17, covering central and eastern Orange. She has no opposition, and held about $62,000 as April ended.
— Mayfield, of Indialantic, deposited just $200 in April for her re-election bid in the new Senate District 19, which covers most of Brevard County. Her campaign was holding about $167,000 in the bank at the end of April.
— Torres, of Orlando, did not raise any money for his re-election bid in the new Senate District 25, covering Osceola County and a portion of southern Orange. He also has no opposition, and was holding about $50,000 in his campaign account when May started.