No doubt you’ve noticed the barrage of last-minute fundraising appeals hammering your inbox recently. The end of the fundraising period for state and local candidates was July 20, with campaign treasurer’s reports due today.
Here are five storylines I’m following as the fundraising quarter comes to an end.
1. How much money did Rep. Jeff Brandes lend his campaign for State Senate District 22? During the last fundraising period, Brandes loaned his campaign $500,000, mostly to pay for an air-and-ground effort that, according to a couple of internal polls floating out there, helped him open up a lead over his opponent, Jim Frishe. If Brandes poured any more money into his campaign, it may be a sign that he is going for the jugular.
2. Will Rep. Dwight Bullard, running for Senate District 39, file on time? And if he does, will his report show any effort to, you know, fundraise? It took several days for Bullard to file his last campaign treasurer’s report and when he did, it first showed only a $500 contribution and no expenditures. Then he filed an updated report and, in addition to a lackluster fundraising effort, it showed a payment to a convicted felon accused of voter fraud.
3. How much money did lobbyists Ron Book, Guy Spearman and Jack Cory raise for Rachel Burgin’s campaign for State Senate District 24? As Steve Bousquet reported, Book, Spearman and Cory are all behind Burgin after Book and Spearman sued and lost an attempt to overturn the lobbyist fee-disclosure law Burgin’s opponent, Tom Lee, championed while in the Florida Senate. Most of the Tallahassee establishment has lined-up behind Lee, despite his reputation for being a maverick. Burgin’s only chance of defeating Lee in a primary is to outwork him on-the-ground AND stay competitive in the mailbox and TV. Keep an eye on how many of Burgin’s contributions have zip codes based near Miami and Tallahassee.
4. Which legislative candidate running in one of Tampa Bay’s battleground races was able to open a significant fundraising lead over their opponent? One of the most closely watched races in the state is the one for House District 68 with Democrat Dwight Dudley likely facing-off against Republican Frank Farkas. The Democrats are eager to take back this seat and believe with Dudley they have a better-than-even shot at doing so. The Republicans have yet to display a lot of enthusiasm for Farkas. Now that Farkas has had time to get organized, two of the clues to look for in Farkas’ fundraising report are 1) whether the state’s chiropractors are still a fundraising force and 2) what kind of support Farkas received from big name Republican elected officials and leadership funds.
In House District 69, David Phillips posted an impressive first fundraising report. Was he able to duplicate his efforts during this period? And what to make of the scrum developing in HD 59 between Ross Spano, Betty Jo Tompkins and Joe Wicker?
5. What will be the most surprising development found in these fundraising reports? Certainly, Brandes’ loan was the most eye-catching story two weeks ago, followed closely by the decision by Will McBride, running in SD 14, to infuse his campaign with a massive loan. What will it be this time around? Perhaps a healthy fundraising report from either Karen Castor Dentel or Rep. Scott Plakon in the race for House District 30.
What other fundraising storylines have you intrigued?