Ashley Moody re-election campaign raises big, spends little in May
Ashley Moody is in re-election mode . Image via Colin Hackley.

Democrats are running low-budget Primary campaigns as the AG keeps fundraising.

Attorney General Ashley Moody faces no opponent in the Republican Primary, even as three Democrats vie for the chance to face her in November.

In that context, Moody raised a lot more than she spent in May, while her potential opponents run campaigns check to check in a Primary with few earned-media opportunities so far.

Moody last month raised nearly $468,000 between her campaign account and her eponymous political committee, Friends of Ashley Moody. She has over $1.1 million in her campaign account, and the political committee has nearly $4.5 million on hand.

Among the major donors in May: communications magnate Stephen Carnes, who gave $50,000 to the political committee; Vero Beach homemaker Marcia Fordyce, who gave $30,000; and the Florida Conservatives United political committee, which gave $25,000.

That political committee is associated with Sen. Joe Gruters, the Chair of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF). The RPOF is already staked into Moody’s campaign, with frequent in-kind contributions of staff and other support.

Moody won a competitive Primary four years ago, and spent much of the immediate aftermath of that contest retooling against that year’s Democratic nominee, Tampa lawyer Sean Shaw. This time around, Moody is watching a disparate Democratic field attempting to position to win a Primary than compete in the General.

Daniel Uhlfelder of Santa Rosa Beach continues to be the leading Democratic fundraiser after two months in the race, with advantages in total raised and cash on hand.

He’s raised nearly $105,000 in three months as an active candidate, raising over $31,000 in May. He spent nearly $50,000 last month, on media and consulting as the Primary starts to heat up, and has roughly $33,000 on hand.

Additionally, Uhlfelder’s associated political committee, Hold Tallahassee Accountable, raised $3,141 in May, and has north of $26,000 on hand. The committee spent nearly $8,300 on consulting and media last month.

Uhlfelder’s camp trumpeted the good news.

“For the third straight month, our grassroots campaign is leading the Primary field — with twice the money and eight times the contributions. Powered in large part by $5, $10, and $20 contributions, we are proving that you can be unbought and win. My campaign is accountable to everyday Floridians, just like my office will be. It’s time we return the Office of Attorney General to the hands of Florida families,” the Panhandle lawyer said.

Former State Attorney Aramis Ayala of Orlando has raised nearly $75,000 over the course of the campaign, with roughly $23,000 on hand. Though basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal was an early donor, that support hasn’t translated into big money yet.

She raised less than $20,000 in May, spending nearly $22,000. It is unclear if Ayala has an associated political committee.

Ayala garnered endorsements in May, notably from the Collective PAC.

They were among the progressive groups backing the candidacy of Tampa’s Shaw, and they went deep with investments on behalf of Andrew Gillum’s campaign for Governor, spending $2 million for Gillum and engaging heavily in the nomination fight.

It would take less than $2 million to make a meaningful difference in this Primary race.

Fort Lauderdale’s Jim Lewis raised no money again in May, and he has roughly $16,000 on hand. Of that amount, $15,000 comes from a personal loan.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

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