Jackie Toledo leads total CD 15 fundraising, but Laurel Lee is catching up fast
Jackie Toledo. Laurel Lee.

Toledo-Lee
An uptick in spending means Toledo now lags Lee and Mac McGovern in cash on hand.

State Rep. Jackie Toledo boasts the highest fundraising totals for any candidate qualified in Florida’s 15th Congressional District. But former Secretary of State and GOP Primary opponent Laurel Lee is catching up fast.

Toledo, a Tampa Republican, raised $167,133 during the second quarter of 2022. That follows up more than $353,000 she raised in her opening quarter. In total, she’s now collected $520,160 to run for the open seat, the highest total of any candidate in the 10-person field.

While that’s an important distinction, Toledo also significantly stepped up spending in the race, burning through $120,334 in various campaign disbursements.

Consequently, she now trails both Lee and Mac McGovern, a veteran largely self-funding his campaign, in terms of cash on hand. Lee raised upward of $510,000 since jumping into the race in May.

As for McGovern, the $229,547 added this quarter came almost entirely from a $225,000 candidate loan. McGovern to date has put in $475,000.

As things stand now, Lee holds $487,361 in cash, McGovern reports $398,616, and Toledo still has $391,326 ready to spend.

Meanwhile, veteran Demetries Grimes reported an additional $219,014 to his campaign and closed the quarter with $282,801 in available cash. State Sen. Kelli Stargel reported $254,105 in her opening quarter and still has $214,061 still in the bank.

With five candidates who all have more than $200,000 to play with, there’s promise of a raucous GOP Primary playing out between now and Aug. 23. Every GOP candidate outraised all the Democrats in the race.

Nevertheless, the open contest in CD 15 was recently listed by Cook Political Report as the most competitive in the state for the General Election, with an R+4 partisan voting index. The seat leans Republican. In 2020, about 50.86% of voters favored Republican Donald Trump for President while 47.74% voted for Democrat Joe Biden.

So where is Toledo’s money going? She dropped $30,400 for direct mail through Tampa-based campaign consultant SIMWINS, where there was also a hefty $10,925 printing bill. So keep an eye on district mailboxes.

Toledo also dumped thousands into T-shirts and signs. In addition to SimWins, she also spent $7,500 with Catalyst Consulting Group. At this point, Toledo has been campaigning within CD 15 longer than any of her Republican competitors, and her expenditures reflect as much.

As far as financial support, Toledo cashed a $1,000 check from Maggie’s List, which endorsed her in March. The Florida Transportation Builders Association wrote a $2,500 check for Toledo.

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]


One comment

  • Brett Givens

    July 19, 2022 at 1:28 am

    Could it be MORE apparent that you want Laurel Lee to win? That’s what’s the most disturbing about this.

Comments are closed.


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