Chip LaMarca adds $48,300 to his six-figure war chest during Q3 in bid for fourth term

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The cost of LaMarca's fundraising trip to California was 40 times the size of his Democratic challenger fundraising haul, reports show.

So far, incumbent Republican Rep. Chip LaMarca isn’t facing much of a contest from Democrat James Oaksun if the incumbent’s fundraising is any indication.

Between his personal campaign account and his political committee, Citizens Helping Improve Policy, LaMarca has $421,000 to spend on his bid for a fourth term representing northeast Broward County. For the last reporting period that ended Sept. 30, LaMarca raised $48,300 counting both his personal account and political committee.

In contrast, his Democratic rival, a real estate agent who filed to run in September, is just getting his campaign going. He reports $400 raised between Sept. 11 and Sept. 30.

Reports show that LaMarca spent more than 40 times that haul on a fundraising trip to California.

Oaksun is seeking an upset as he makes a first bid for office. House District 100 is the only House district entirely contained within blue Broward County controlled by Republicans. HD 100 stretches from Port Everglades to the Palm Beach County line.

President Joe Biden won the majority of the district’s votes in 2020, but Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis won over Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by more than 10 percentage points here in 2020, according to voting data from Matt Isbell of MCI Maps.

LaMarca’s list of donors reflects his long run of public service, which also included serving on the Broward County Commission and the Lighthouse Point City Commission.

His largest donation of the period — $15,000 — came from Lori Ryan, who works in Fort Lauderdale real estate. LaMarca’s committee also received $10,000 checks from both Public Adjusters for the Insuring Public, based in Tallahassee and U.S. Sugar Company in Clewiston. Netta Architects in Boca Raton gave LaMarca’s committee $5,000 and he received $2,500 from both Solar Power PAC in Sarasota and Sayfie Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale.

Giving the maximum $1,000 donation to LaMarca’s private campaign account were Florida Building Code Compliance Authority Inc. in Panama City; HNTB Holdings LTD PAC, based in Missouri, which represents transportation interests; and FPF Fire PC in Tallahassee, which represents firefighters.

Most of LaMarca’s reported expenditures came before he drew a challenger, however. The expense report from his political committee shows that he spent more than $11,000 all in the Napa Valley and San Francisco from July 18 to Aug. 14. Charges included $2,533 at the Archer Hotel in Napa, California, and more than $4,000 at Darioush, a Napa winery that offers “experiences” such as the two-hour “Culture of Wine Experience” that costs $275 a guest.

LaMarca had a fundraiser at Darioush for 12 people, he said. And yes, he said, some of the wine was served out of large wine bottles that are verboten in Florida. LaMarca has repeatedly introduced legislation that would lift the one-gallon limit on wine containers, but the legislation has repeatedly failed to clear the Senate.

If California has embraced the free market in selling this legal product, he said, “Florida should do the same.”

He also spent more than more than $11,000 on items that were classified as either, “fundraising travel reimbursement” or “fundraising event reimbursement.”

The campaigns faced a deadline Tuesday for reporting all campaign finance activity.

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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