Laurel Lee dominates CD 15 field in fundraising and spending for July

Kelli Stargel still has more cash on hand, but Jackie Toledo's fundraising has slowed.

Former Secretary of State Laurel Lee significantly outraised and outspent all competitors in her campaign in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

The Thonotosassa Republican reported $187,937 in new funding to her campaign between July 1 and Aug. 3, according to pre-Primary fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. That’s more than double what any of her Republican competitors reported.

Perhaps more important is the fact that with less than a month to go before an Aug. 23 Primary, she spent $429,915 over the same period of time, again far outpacing competitors. But she may need to keep fundraising up in August as multiple three of her four GOP competitors hold more cash in hand.

That includes state Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, who raised $93,413 in the reporting period. She took a more conservative approach on spending and only reported $76,819 in disbursements, but that left her with $230,654 in cash on hand some 20 days out from the election. By comparison, Lee closed the period with $210,762.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Jackie Toledo, a Tampa Republican and the candidate in the race the longest, reported somewhat sluggish fundraising in July. She collected $38,986 in new receipts. She closed the second quarter as the fundraising leader in the race, though she has now been usurped by Lee. Still, healthy coffers before July allowed her to spend $242,274 in July and the first few days of August.

That’s more than any candidate in the field except for Lee. But she also wrapped the period with $187,937 following a period where spent six times as much as she raised. That leaves her with less in the bank than any Republican in the race.

That includes two less high-profile candidates, veterans Demetries Grimes and Kevin ‘Mac’ McGovern.

McGovern has largely self-funded, first with his eyes on Florida’s 7th Congressional District before shifting in May to CD 15. He reported just $70 new dollars in July, a drop compared to anyone else running for the seat. But he closed the reporting period with a massive $356,763, after spending $41,923 in the period. So long as he’s willing to dip significantly into that out-of-pocket amount, he still harbors an ability to shake up the race.

Finally, veteran Demetries Grimes reported $14,610 in receipts in the latest report, but spent a sizable $92,901, more than Stargel or McGovern. He enters the final stretch with $204,511 in the bank.

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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