Chip LaMarca holds more than $500K for re-election bid representing coastal Broward’s HD 100

Chip LaMarca
The Broward Republican Representative is facing a third-term bid without an asset that's always boosted him before.

Republican Rep. Chip LaMarca’s bid for a third term representing coastal Broward County just logged his best fundraising period this cycle — raising about $145,000 in 41 days, pushing his available funds past the half-million mark.

But for the first time in his 17-year political career, he’s heading into an election without an asset some would argue is priceless: the endorsement of the Sun-Sentinel.

Instead, Broward County’s daily newspaper endorsed his two-time rival, Democrat Linda Thompson Gonzalez, a retired diplomat he bested by 10 percentage points in 2020.

Thompson Gonzalez is far behind in the money race, holding $43,849, including $10,000 of her own money. That’s far below the $508,883 LaMarca has between his personal account and his political committee, Citizens Helping Improve Policy.

In spite of donors’ apparent enthusiasm, the editorial argued that LaMarca voted too often for more extreme measures pushed by Republicans in charge of the Legislature.

The editorial cited his support for the 15-week ban on abortion with no exception for rape or incest (HB 5) and two sets of changes to election laws, one that will make it harder to vote by mail (SB 90) and another that created an elections police force (SB 524).

LaMarca also went along with the Republicans in supporting legislation — later vetoed — that made it easier for businesses to sue local governments, the Stop WOKE Act, and the redistricting plan that eliminated two Black-majority congressional districts.

“To study LaMarca’s voting record, you would think he represented Panama City, not Pompano Beach,” the editorial said. “His vote against HB 1557, the so-called ‘don’t say gay’ law, does little to mitigate this.”

LaMarca said he vehemently disagrees with the assessment. None of those issues the paper mentioned come up when he knocks on doors to talk to his constituents.

People want to talk about the economy, inflation, short-term rentals and “things that affect families,” he said.

“We’ve gotten recent polling back that says I know exactly what the mainstream is and I think they are out of the mainstream,” LaMarca said of the Sun-Sentinel’s editorial board.

It’s probably the most contested race in Broward County, drawing the most money, in a district that is almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats hold the slightest advantage, according to Matt Isbell, an elections data expert with MCI Maps. His analysis shows that 49.93% of the district voted for President Joe Biden in 2020, compared to the 49.32% that voted for President Donald Trump.

LaMarca’s donor list shows state Republicans are keen to hold on to this district, the only one entirely contained in Broward County that a Republican represents. Between Aug. 27 and Oct. 7, he received $9,000 from the Republican Party of Florida and another $4,293 from the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee.

LaMarca is also getting support from marquee names in Florida politics. He received $3,500 from lobbyist Ron Book and another $1,000 from Book’s law office. Friends of Randy Fine, the political committee supporting a controversial Brevard County Republican Representative, gave him $1,000. And he also received $50 from Republican Vincent Parlatore, who’s running a campaign against Democratic Rep. Marie Woodson, in House District 105.

LaMarca’s biggest donation from this period came from Florida Federation for Children, an Alexandria, Virginia-based group that advocates for school choice. He has also received $5,000 checks from Duke Energy; Rahn Bahia Mar in North Miami; Anesco North Broward LLC, an anesthesia and pain management company based in Fort Lauderdale; and a public adjuster group based in Tallahassee.

Thompson Gonzalez has her share of who’s who among her donors, including Chad Klitzman, the former Democratic candidate for Supervisor of Elections, who gave $100. Mitchell Berger, a “super lawyer” who founded the firm Berger Singerman, gave $350. Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Steven Glassman gave $200. Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon gave $50, and Gordon Weekes, Broward County’s Public Defender, gave $100.

Her campaign is decidedly more of a grassroots one, however. Out of 226 donors, ten gave the maximum of $1,000.

As for spending, Thompson Gonzalez is far and away the underdog. She laid out $19,000 in the period between Aug. 27 to Oct. 7, compared to the $54,000 that LaMarca spent.

Between Aug. 27 and Oct. 7, LaMarca sent his biggest checks to Political Consulting LLC in Boca Raton, which received $24,000 for digital advertising and services. Also, $9,050 went to Your Sign Guy FL in Boca Raton for signage. He sent $5,000 to CSC Group in Pompano Beach for political consulting, $3,500 to Blake MacDiarmid Inc. in Miami Beach for campaign consulting, and nearly $3,000 to the weekly newspaper the New Pelican in Pompano Beach for advertising.

The district that extends roughly from Port Everglades to the Palm Beach County line was called House District 93, but now it’s been renumbered HD 100.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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