Incumbent Democratic Sen. Janet Cruz and her Republican opponent, Jay Collins, both received hefty donations from state legislative leadership this past fundraising period, showing the competitiveness of Senate District 14.
Cruz’s political committee, Building The Bay PC, received a $50,000 boost from Sen. Jason Pizzo via his affiliated political committee, New Opportunity Florida. Pizzo recently pledged $500,000 to support “real Democrats” in their races after qualifying for his seat unopposed.
Cruz’s political committee also saw a $10,000 donation from the Florida Medical Association PAC, as well as $5,000 from both Mark PC, the committee affiliated with Florida Democratic Party attorney Mark Herron, and Friends of Lori Berman, the committee of Sen. Lori Berman.
All in all, Cruz’s committee reported $70,000 in the latest June finance period, which spans from June 18 through July 1.
But, state GOP leadership is working to compete with Cruz’s funds, with House Speaker Pro Tempore Bryan Ávila’s political committee, Fighting for Florida’s Families, dropping $20,000 on Collins via the new entrant’s political committee, Quiet Professionals FL.
Collins’ committee also received $14,949 from the federal, now-terminated Quiet Professionals PAC, which only reported one donor when active — now retired Joe White, who owned Castle Supply Co. and later established the philanthropic White Family Foundation. The candidate’s committee also saw $10,000 from the Florida Accountability Project, as well as $3,000 from veterans’ advocate Jerry Lavely and commercial real estate professional David Mafrige.
Collins also transferred money raised from his former congressional campaign account to his political committee with a $50,000 check. Collins shifted his campaign for Florida’s 15th Congressional District to SD 14 in the middle of June.
In total, Collins’ committee has collected $111,749 in the last few weeks of June.
As for their respective campaign accounts, Cruz raised $23,416 in the end-of-June period from about 80 contributors. That includes $10,000 from the Hillsborough County Democratic Party, as well as $1,000 drops from the Latino Victory Fund PAC, which endorsed Cruz last week, the Florida Medical Association PAC and the Teamsters Local Union No. 79.
In the same timeframe, Collins’ campaign collected $13,477 from about 20 donors. He saw $1,000 donations from the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, Sen. Gayle Harrell’s PC, former Republican state Sen. Tom Lee and Defending Conservatism and Democracy PAC.
The pair are in for a tough race, with Cruz boasting a hefty war chest — she’ll start July with over $587,900 cash on hand between her campaign account and affiliated political committee. Collins will start the new month with $126,778 between his two fundraising sources, but he has shown that he too can raise strong funds.
Collins has pulled an endorsement from Gov. Ron DeSantis upon his entrance into the race. Tampa businessman Shawn Harrison, who filed in April, left the race in response to Collins’ shift.
SD 14 is a blue-leaning seat, but a competitive one. About 51.25% of voters under the new SD 14 lines favored Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election while 47.33% voted for Republican Donald Trump.