Howey-in-the-Hills Republican Anthony Sabatini announced he raised $205,000 in his congressional campaign’s first quarter.
The Lake County Republican Party chair announced in April he will challenge U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, a Clermont Republican. The two are the only Republicans filed so far in Florida’s 11th Congressional District.
“My America-First campaign for Congress is gaining momentum because Floridians are tired of the radical socialist policies being advanced by corrupt Democrats in Washington,” Sabatini said in a statement on his fundraising. “That’s why I am proud to announce that we have raised over $205,000 in the first quarter of our fight to take America back.”
By comparison, Sabatini had raised around $149,000 in the first quarter of 2021 when he ran for Congress in Florida’s 11th Congressional District. At that point, he was challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who left that race after lawmakers released a redistricting plan making the district more Republican-friendly. Sabatini ultimately lost the GOP nomination to Cory Mills, who won the seat in November.
Sabatini has run on a far-right platform, associating himself with figures like former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The former state lawmaker was part of an effort to secure Republican Party of Florida executive committee positions, including the takeover of his county party late last year.
He has run on an anti-establishment message.
“We are going to use this momentum to win and take our fight to abolish the FBI, build the wall, and gut the Department of Justice like a fish to Congress,” Sabatini said in a statement.
Webster hasn’t filed reports yet for the second quarter, but had $232,218 in cash on hand as of the end of March, before Sabatini entered the race. That means even if he raised nothing in the past three months, he still has more money than Sabatini.
But there remains a feeling the seven-term incumbent could be vulnerable to a challenge from the right. Last year, he narrowly fended off a GOP Primary challenge from internet provocateur Laura Loomer. Webster won the Republican nomination in the deep-red district by a 51% to 44% margin, with third-place Republican Gavriel Soriano winning 5% support.
Loomer has said she’s considering running again this year, but in a statement to Florida Politics said she’s focused no on the presidential race.
“Right now, my entire focus is the re-nomination and reelection of President Donald J. Trump, and exposing (Gov. and presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis for the con man that he is,” she said. “I am preserving all of my options regarding a potential candidacy for U.S. Congress in Florida’s 11th district. If I do decide to run again, I am confident that I could pulverize Anthony Sabatini based on his unseemly personal conduct as well as defeating RINO Dan Webster, whose health is sadly rapidly deteriorating.”
Webster’s campaign, for its part, refuted allegations about his health.
“This is completely and utterly false,” said Webster campaign spokesperson Stephen Shylkofski. “The Congressman is working hard every day fighting for his constituents and running a vigorous campaign for reelection.”
A complication for both Loomer and Sabatini though may be that both are loyalists to former President Donald Trump. Webster earlier this year endorsed Trump’s comeback run for President, and said the former President committed to support his own re-election bid.