Carlos Guillermo Smith spends six figures on advertising in HD 37

Guillermo Smith, Carlos
But he's down to under $50K cash, as compared to Susan Plasencia's $46K.

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith just dropped six figures in spending in under two weeks. Most of that will ensure he has a presence on video screens from now until Election Day.

It also substantially cuts into the Orlando Democrat’s cash reservoir a month from Election Day, and Republican opponent Susan Plasencia has a comparable amount ready to spend herself.

As of Oct. 7, Smith held $49,998 in cash in his official campaign account. That’s after he spent $136,220 between Sept. 24 and Oct. 7, most of that on advertising through Screen Strategies Media in Fairfax, Virginia. That’s more than half of the $263,732 the incumbent has raised to date for his re-election.

Smith said the bulk of invoices for his campaign are for digital and cable, spent in advance of actual airings.

He also controls a political committee, Floridians for Equality, with another $33,665 ready to deploy. The committee hasn’t spent as aggressively, though it did transfer $65,000 to the Florida Democratic Party on Sept. 17 and another $15,000 on Sept. 23. The party in turn has provided $27,739 worth of in-kind support for Smith’s re-election effort to date.

Meanwhile, Plasencia has been more measured in spending of a sparser pool of resources. She still holds $46,207 in cash to spend in the month before the Nov. 8 General Election.

But she’s also receiving in-kind support from the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee (FHRCC). Plasencia’s campaign on Sept. 24 reported $11,421 worth of staff support from the political arm for House Republicans. In total, the FHRCC has pumped $76,755 of support into the race, including $25,000 in hard cash, nearly a quarter of all Plasencia’s campaign has raised.

Additionally, the Republican Party of Florida has provided $64,000 in support, $24,000 of that in cash.

Plasencia doesn’t control a committee, though notably, a PC belonging to her brother and former Rep. Rene Plasencia’s Commitment to Opportunity, Action and Community Health still sits on $34,238 in cash.

All this takes place in a district redrawn after the decennial redistricting process and now covers a significant part of Seminole County where Smith hasn’t represented in the past. Still, about 54.84% of voters in the newly drawn House District 37 voted for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election while only 43.44% supported Republican Donald Trump.

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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