Vern Buchanan outraises Eddie Speir 17-to-1
Vern Buchanan.

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The longtime incumbent saw interest from around the country. The Primary challenger continues to self-fund.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan massively outraised GOP Primary opponent Eddie Speir in the first quarter of 2024.

The Longboat Key incumbent, who serves as Vice Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, added nearly $263,000 in new contributions between the start of the year and end of March. That brought his total contributions this election cycle to more than $1.1 million.

Meanwhile, he spent less than $117,000 over the same time period. He wrapped the period with upward of $1.7 million in cash on hand.

Meanwhile, Speir, founder of Inspiration Academy in Bradenton, raised less than $16,000 in Q1. That said, he spent more than $60,000 on his Primary challenge bid against Buchanan.

Since Speir has raised just more than $35,000 over the course of the entire campaign, his primary source of resources remains more than $502,000 in loans, about $500,000 of those directly guaranteed by the candidate. He’s dipped into that, spending nearly $149,000 since launching his campaign.

Much of that has been spent paying members of his own family, a trend that has continued in 2024. Over three months, he paid son Tal Speir more than $6,360, and son-in-law Noah Rohm more than $1,900. He also paid $4,500 rent to Clairebear Properties, which was founded by his wife, Claire Speir.

But he’s also paid Samantha Kozinski, a math teacher at Inspiration Academy, more than $10,250 in salary as well. Kozinski has served as the campaign’s volunteer coordinator, controversially sending emails to families of students encouraged to participate in the campaign.

Buchanan’s fundraising comes from a number of prominent donors in Southwest Florida and across the country.

Napster founder Sean Parker donated $6,600 to the incumbent, as did wife Alexandra. Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwartzman gave $3,300, while Cactus Group lobbyist Sue Andres gave $3,500.

Anna Maria Oyster Bar founder John Horner donated $4,500, while Sarasota-based Terreg Management leader Gerret Copeland gave $6,600.

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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