Sen. Aaron Bean, the presumptive front-runner in Florida’s 4th Congressional District, more than tripled opponent Erick Aguilar’s second quarter haul in the Republican Primary, despite Bean only raising money for one month of the quarter.
Bean raised more than $346,800 during that span, and spent more than $191,800. That leaves the campaign with $154,500 on hand at the beginning of July.
Aguilar’s cash-on-hand advantage may not matter in the end, as he deals with the fallout from accusations he deliberately misled seniors and others in campaign fundraising solicitations. The pitch made it look like the money would go to former President Donald Trump or Gov. Ron DeSantis, but instead went to Aguilar.
Right now, however, Aguilar leads all candidates in the CD 4 Republican Primary with more than $764,800 in his campaign account, raising $109,348 and spending a little more than $154,522 in the second quarter of 2022.
Among Bean’s notable contributions were $2,900 from JAXUSA Vice President Gregory Anderson, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits CEO Charles Bailes III, Ballard Partners President Brian Ballard, Jacksonville University President Timothy Cost, The Fiorentino Group President Marty Fiorentino, Sen. George Gainer, Sen. Travis Hutson and Gate Petroleum CEO Thomas Rhodes. He also received $2,000 from Jacksonville Rep. Wyman Duggan.
Political Action Committees giving to Bean included those from Rayonier Advanced Materials ($5,000), Florida Transportation Builders Association ($2,500), Florida East Coast Industries ($2,000) and JM Family Enterprises ($1,000).
The Bean campaign paid nearly $14,400 to Bascom Communications of Tallahassee for consulting and online development. As is usual for campaigns further up the ballot, ad production and media buys ran up the tab.
The campaign spent $115,130 with Maryland company Mentzer Media Services for media buys, $19,000 to Consensus Media of Winter Park for media production and travel, and $10,000 to Georgia firm The Stoneridge Group for a media buy. The campaign went with Fernandina Beach photographer Pam Bell for its photo services, which came in at nearly $1,450.
Aguilar also raised $44,741 for his federal committee, Defend Liberty, but transferred $40,000 on June 30 to his campaign account, leaving a little more than $333 in the committee’s account.
How Aguilar raised his money — in repeated small-dollar donations from people nationwide through alleged deceptive means — covered both the campaign and Defend Liberty. For instance, a South Carolina woman gave Defend Liberty between $5 and $25 repeatedly.
She’d already given more than $200 before this reporting period. Then she sent in contributions on April 24, 25, 26, 28 and 30; May 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21 and 28; ending with every day June 1-17.
She closed out the reporting period with $791 in contributions to Defend Liberty.
In addition to shifting $40,000 to his campaign account, Aguilar used the Defend Liberty committee to pay $2,500 over three months to WinRight Strategies of Coconut Creek.
The largest group of disbursements from the campaign account went to the Arkansas-based consulting firm Reed + Company — more than $71,260 over April, May and June. The firm terminated its agreement with Aguilar after allegations about his fundraising practices came to light.
“We’ve never been involved or approved any of the online fundraising strategies put together by Nick Britton at WinRight Strategies and approved by Erick Aguilar,” Lance Watson, Florida director for Reed + Company, said at the time. “We were not made aware of the story about the dubious emails until we read about it Friday morning.”
Over the reporting period, the campaign paid WinRight nearly $57,800, along with nearly $3,000 to Arkansas firm OutKri Digital and a little more than $2,000 to AD Marketing of Jacksonville.
Also receiving dollars
Health insurance contract analyst Jon Chuba’s contributions for the quarter more or less begin and end with a combined $5,000 from a Jacksonville contractor. In all, Chuba raised $5,440 and spent around $1,524, ending the reporting period with more than $9,600 on hand.
The Democrats in the race — it’s considered a safe Republican seat — are raising money closer to Chuba’s numbers than the GOP leaders. Former Sen. Tony Hill had a little more than $16,000 on hand at the beginning of July, more than doubling up fellow Democratic Primary candidate LaShonda Holloway, who posted around $7,235 on hand.
Hill received nearly $32,700 over the quarter, spending close to $16,600. Holloway received around $5,780 from April through June, spending none of it, per her report.