Fiona McFarland maintains mass cash edge in HD 73

McFarland, Fiona
Democrat Derek Reich, meanwhile, is betting all his cash on pro-choice messaging.

Rep. Fiona McFarland appears to be leaving nothing to chance. The Sarasota Republican just dropped almost $70,000 into TV advertising as she seeks re-election. That’s more than Democrat Derek Reich has raised to date.

But there are signs a race is on in House District 73, with Reich funding mailers to attack McFarland’s vote for a 15-week abortion ban and opening a new political committee weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 General Election.

Whatever he does will have to break through a lot of messaging on McFarland’s behalf. She launched a television ad last week in the market, and the bulk of spending leading to an Oct. 7 reporting deadline went for broadcast and cable advertising.

Over the two-week period spanning from Sept. 24 to Oct. 7, she raised another 16,963 for her campaign, including $1,000 checks from the Florida Nurses Association, the Apartment Political Action Committee and government consultant Ronald Book.

Of note, her political committee, Friends of Sarasota, has also continued to fundraise. It pulled in $33,000 in the week of Oct. 8 to 14 alone, the week after the last candidate fundraising period, when the committee had raised another $4,500. The biggest check came courtesy the pro-school choice Florida Federation for Children, which dropped $10,000 into McFarland’s coffers. The Michael Corcoran-chaired Building a Better Florida PC also donated $7,500 to McFarland’s committee.

In total, the Friends account had $174,206 as of Oct. 14. Meanwhile, McFarland’s campaign account reported $144,995 as of Oct. 7.

As for Reich, he expects to benefit from the launch of the Freedom First Fund, but as of Oct. 14 the newly formed political committee still has only raised $1,000, courtesy Osprey-based paper conservationist Frank Mowery.

But his campaign account has stepped up spending as it looks toward the General Election. The Venice-based teacher added $22,849 in the two weeks leading into Oct. 7. That included $15,731 for a mailer through Street Smartz Consulting. Fliers hit mailboxes with Reich promising a “pro-freedom, pro-choice” message on one side and branding his opponent as “Forced Birth Fiona” or “Fiona ‘No Exceptions’ McFarland” on the other.

He’s also spreading the message digitally, spending $6,753 with Statecraft Digital to reach voters online.

But as for gas in the tank, he’s down to $24,237 cash on hand, including a $3,000 candidate loan.

Pro-Derek Reich messaging
Anti-Fiona McFarland ad.

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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