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Marlene O’Toole outpaces fundraising, but Dennis Baxley loans $100K to keep lead in SD 12

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Lady Lake Republican Rep. Marlene O’Toole was able to bring in more contributions than Rep. Dennis Baxley last month, but the Ocala Republican threw in $100,000 of his own money to further increase his lead in the Senate District 12 race.

O’Toole, who filed for the seat March 2, brought in $11,150 in her first month and spent nothing, leaving her with a five-figure campaign account at month’s end.

Nearly all of her contributions came from subsidiaries of Central Florida retirement community The Villages, combining to in $10,000.

Outside of Baxley’s loan, the three-term Marion County representative was able to raise $5,600, including five contributions for the campaign maximum of $1,000. Among his March donors were two Anesthesiology political action committees and Tallahassee-based consulting firms Johnson & Blanton and 537.

Baxley also spent about $6,700 last month, including $3,000 to Front Line Strategies and $2,130 to the Pecunia Group for consulting services, leaving the candidate with more than $203,000 on hand.

O’Toole and Baxley also face Republican David Gee in the primary race for the seat, which covers all of Sumter County and parts of Marion and Lake counties, though he didn’t report any contributions for the one day he was filed to run last month.

The newly redrawn District 12 heavily favors Republicans and is unlikely to draw a serious Democratic contender. According to statistics from the district plan, Republicans have a 45 percent share of the new SD12 electorate compared to 35 percent for Democrats.

Back in 2012, the district voted plus-23 for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and plus-5 for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack IV.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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