Democratic candidate Jen McDonald will enter the General Election cycle with a $120,000 cash on hand advantage against Republican opponent Karen Gonzalez Pittman as the pair compete for House District 65.
McDonald, who did not face a Primary challenger, started the General Election cycle with $136,327 in her pocket. McDonald’s funding comes between her campaign account and affiliated political committee, Bright Future Tampa Bay.
Gonzalez Pittman, meanwhile, entered the cycle with only $12,493 cash on hand after a competitive Primary. In the week leading up to the Aug. 23 Primary Election, Gonzalez Pittman spent $116,505. That expenditure included $85,214 on advertising, and another $31,000 on media.
The last-minute spending spree may have brought Gonzalez Pittman over the finish line. She narrowly ousted challenger Jake Hoffman for the Republican nomination, collecting 44% of the vote to his 43%.
But now, she’ll have to work overtime to catch up to McDonald’s fundraising as the two go head-to-head in the Democratic leaning district.
The cash on hand disparity comes despite Gonzalez Pittman being the highest total fundraiser. Since she entered the race, she’s amassed $197,702, as well as $10,000 in self-funding. McDonald, on the other hand, has collected $164,888 between her campaign and committee since entering the race back in March.
As for donors, both McDonald and Gonzalez Pittman have picked up support from members of their respective parties.
McDonald’s political committee raised $2,500 from Sen. Jason Pizzo via his affiliated political committee, New Opportunity Florida after he pledged $500,000 to support “real Democrats” in their races. Her campaign has also seen support from Friends of Ben Diamond, the political committee affiliated with Rep. Ben Diamond.
Gonzalez Pittman has reported contributions from organizations like Friends of Gayle Harrell, affiliated with Florida Sen. Gayle Harrell, Conservative Florida PAC, and former Republican House District 59 candidate Jennifer Wilson.
The candidates are racing to take the competitive Hillsborough County seat, which closely resembles the current House District 60 represented by Tampa Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo, who unsuccessfully ran for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. Toledo has endorsed Pittman as her preferred successor.
The newly drawn HD 65 seat, which covers southern Hillsborough County, has a slight Democratic lean. In 2020, 51.28% of the district went to President Joe Biden, while only 47.19% went to former President Donald Trump.