Laurel Lee reports massive $510K haul in CD 15 contest
Laurel Lee. Image via Colin Hackley.

That's a bigger opening haul than any competitor still in the race.

Thonotosassa Republican Laurel Lee added more than a half million dollars in the first six weeks of her congressional campaign.

The former Florida Secretary of State announced she collected $510,143 between her May 17 campaign launch and the June 30 close of the quarter. Just as important, she didn’t spend a huge amount getting there, and closed the reporting period with $487,361 in cash on hand.

The fundraising totals do include a $65,000 candidate loan put in by Lee. It’s also unclear at this point what percentage of the funding will be available in a competitive Republican Primary.

“Our campaign has received tremendous support in our first six weeks of the race,” Lee said. “From the campaign trail to endorsements and contributions, I am grateful for the support and confidence voters have placed in me as the Republican leader that can fight for our district in Washington. I look forward to continuing to meet with voters on the campaign trail, as we work toward victory on Election Day.”

Lee left her position in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration to run in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, a seat left open with no incumbent on a new congressional map. She made an immediate splash, earning endorsements from Attorney General Ashley Moody, Americans for Prosperity and other conservative voices.

The fundraising appears to set Lee apart for having the largest opening fundraising haul of any of the 10 candidates qualified in CD 15. But not all candidates have released their second quarter totals.

In an Aug. 23 Primary, Lee faces state Sen. Kelli Stargel, state Rep. Jackie Toledo and military veterans Demetries Grimes and Mac McGovern.

The only other candidate to have reported fundraising totals comparable to Lee’s was Jay Collins, who left the race after Gov. Ron DeSantis recruited him into a state Senate race in Tampa Bay. Collins has since endorsed Lee.

Whoever ultimately wins the GOP nomination should hold an edge in the General Election, but not a huge one. About 50.86% of voters under the new CD 15 boundaries voted for Republican Donald Trump in 2020 and 47.74% supported Democrat Joe Biden. An analysis released this week by Cook Political Report shows the district as the most competitive seat in Florida this year.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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