Audrey Henson political committee transfers $190K to Florida GOP

Henson cross SBS edit
Democratic nominee Lindsay Cross also made a $45K donation to the Florida Democratic Party.

House District 60 opponents Lindsay Cross and Audrey Henson spent big in the last few weeks as the General Election nears. Notably, each of their largest expenditures went to their affiliated state political party.

The largest expenditure between the two was not ad production or consulting services. It was a $190,000 donation to the Republican Party of Florida, made by Henson’s affiliated political committee, Friends of Audrey Henson.

The large contribution was pulled from the committee’s war chest of $260,350. About 81% of the committee’s total fundraising from one super PAC, which donated $210,000 at the start of June.

The federal PAC, called the Freedom and Liberty PAC, was formed in November 2021, according to federal election filings. At the time of its donation, the committee had raised a total of $250,000 from only three donors, all from St. Petersburg — Greg PaterEileen Pater and Stephen Dehmlow, owner of Composites One.

Greg Pater donated another $30,000 to Henson’s political committee in the last week of September, making him the only donor in the latest finance reports, which date from Sept. 24 through Oct. 7, to Henson’s political committee.

Henson’s political committee also dished out $11,500 on media consulting this past period.

Democratic nominee Cross’ affiliated political committee, Moving Pinellas Forward, spent $45,030 in the latest finance period, including a $45,000 drop on the Florida Democratic Party.

While Cross’ political committee only collected $350 this latest period, she led fundraising in the campaign sphere. Her campaign raised $17,159 in the latest period from about 90 donors. She saw seven $1,000 donations from organizations like the local plumbers & pipe-fitters union, Wells Fargo Bank and FCCI Services.

In the same time frame, Cross’ campaign spent $4,704, including $4,000 on advertising/media production, and the remainder on postage and other printed media.

Henson’s campaign raised $6,390 this period from 10 contributors, including six $1,000 donations from True Conservatives PC, three HCA divisions and Voice of Florida Business Policy PC. Her campaign spent $9,441, including $5,000 on SimWins campaign materials/services, and the remainder spread between campaign staff, contractors and media.

Henson will enter the next finance period with $49,970 in cash-on-hand between her two fundraising sources, and Cross will start with $44,227 between her two funding sources.

Henson dropped her congressional campaign back in June to instead run for HD 60. In switching her candidacy, she brought along what remains in her congressional war chest. During her first two weeks on the campaign trail, Henson also received hefty support from Florida’s GOP, showing the party’s eagerness to flip the seat red.

The district is analogous to one held now by Rep. Ben Diamond, a St. Petersburg Democrat whoexited the CD 13 contest. Diamond has endorsed Cross as his preferred successor.

The Republican candidate will likely need a hefty war chest as she tries to flip the district red. About 54.92% of voters in the newly drawn district voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election, while just 43.51% supported Donald Trump.

Voter registration reflects that Democratic advantage, with 47,061 Democratic voters to just 38,738 Republicans. Non-partisan voters could make a difference; there are 36,705 voters in the district with no party affiliation, according to the most recent L2 voter data.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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