Northeast Florida candidates’ fundraising in August: Some sizzled, some fizzled


August historically isn’t a hot month for political fundraising, and the Irma aftermath may make some readers forget about politics.

However, politics goes on — and in that context, a look at Northeast Florida fundraising, broken down by candidate category.

Attorney General

Rep. Jay Fant continued to struggle raising funds in August, bringing in just over $15,000 (off the strength of a late-August fundraiser with no host committee) while spending just over $18,000 — a potentially concerning place to be a year out from the primary. Fant has $155,000 in hard money available. His primary opponent, former Hillsborough Judge Ashley Moody, has $730,000 on hand.

Fant will need to make up ground.

Fant’s political committee (“Pledge This Day”) likewise is floundering: a second straight month of no money raised whatsoever, as part of five months in which just $10,000 was brought in. Fant’s committee has $72,000 on hand, which compares unfavorably to the $103,000 “Friends of Ashley Moody” has.

State Senate

Both Democrat Audrey Gibson and Republican Aaron Bean are without serious competition thus far in their re-election bids. Bean is unopposed; Gibson faces a longshot write-in.

Bean raised $10,000 and spent just over $5,000 in August, bringing him over $36,000 on hand. Of that $10,000, $4,000 came from committees associated with insurance agents, and $4,000 more from Florida East Coast Industries and affiliates.

Spending ran the gamut, from $4 for parking and $5.35 for a biscuit at Maple Street to $2,500 to Bascom Communications.

Gibson raked in $13,200 against $1,750 spent in August, giving her just over $69,000 on hand. Her most interesting donations: $4,000 in $1,000 from property companies located at the same Miami address.

State House

Except for one competitive race in House District 15 to replace Rep. Jay Fant, most of these incumbents were originally elected in 2016, and have safely gerrymandered seats and very little drama until their runs for future political offices.

Rep. Cord Byrd brought in $6,000 of new August money in his House District 11 re-election bid, pushing the Jacksonville Beach Republican to just over $18,000 on hand.

Notable: $2,000 of that came from future House Speaker Paul Renner‘s “Florida Foundation for Liberty” political committee. This suggests that whether Byrd supported Renner for Speaker in the past, everything is good with them now.

HD 12’s incumbent Republican, Clay Yarborough, brought in $7,250, giving him over $46,000 on hand. Of that $7,250, the $250 donation from Yarborough’s former Jacksonville City Council colleague Stephen Joost is of most local interest.

Yarborough’s Democratic opponent, Timothy Yost, has yet to report August numbers; at the end of July, he had $2,215 on hand.

Rep. Tracie Davis, the incumbent Democrat in House District 13, took a W in August; she has just over $16,000 on hand.

HD 14’s incumbent Democrat, Rep. Kim Daniels, raised her first $1,000 of her re-election campaign in August, via Nextera Energy. Daniels, who believes Hurricane Irma was anticipated by “prophets,” certainly is an interesting choice for the Florida Power and Light subsidiary to offer a maximum contribution to.

HD 15 Republican Wyman Duggan brought in $53,000 to kick off his campaign to replace Jay Fant, as we reported previously. Duggan will face Democrat Tracye Polson, who filed to run this month and has yet to report fundraising.

HD 16 incumbent Republican Jason Fischer brought in $13,000 from 15 August contributions and spent over $8,000 of it, giving him roughly $58,000 on hand.

HD 17 Republican Cyndi Stevenson raised $1,500 in August and spent $1,000 for consulting with Data Targeting; Stevenson, an incumbent representing St. Johns County, has roughly $42,000 on hand.

Clay County’s Travis Cummings, the Republican incumbent in HD 18, likewise had a quiet month: $3,000 of new money, with $2,452 spent. Cummings, who beat a Libertarian candidate handily in last year’s general election, has just over $51,000 on hand.

Palatka’s Bobby Payne, a Republican representing HD 19, brought in $6,500 from seven contributions — all of which came from the usual suspects in the Jacksonville donor class. This brings him near $23,000 on hand.

Payne has opposition on the ballot, including a primary challenger (Green Cove’s Boyce Royal) who has $500 banked. If Payne clears that challenge, he gets a Libertarian opponent in the general election.

Palm Coast’s Paul Renner, who will hold the Speaker’s gavel soon enough, brought in $4,000 in hard money, giving him over $31,000 on hand.

The action for Renner, however, was in his “Florida Foundation for Liberty” political committee, which brought in $56,500 and spent $28,215 in August.

Florida Blue donated $15,000 to Renner, making it the top donor.

Many of the expenditures from Renner’s committee were to House colleagues’ campaigns: Amber MarianoJayer WilliamsonChuck Clemons, and Joe Gruters are just a few of the names that got $1,000 checks in August.

The committee now has nearly $300,000 on hand.

One of the other major legislative committee in northeast Florida is “Working for Florida’s Families”, the committee of Sen. Rob Bradley.

Bradley, who isn’t up for re-election in 2018, brought in $44,000 — $25,000 of it from tobacco company RAI.

Bradley’s committee poured $60,000 into the Florida Republican Senatorial Committee in August also, and has roughly $425,000 on hand.

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