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Jose Felix Diaz raises about $450K for SD 40 race

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Rep. Jose Felix Diaz has raised more than $400,000 in the special election to replace Sen. Frank Artiles in Senate District 40.

Diaz, a Miami Republican, said his campaign raised about $450,000 — about $280,000 for his official campaign and another $167,000 for Rebuild Florida, his political committee — between May 10 and June 8.

“Our goal was to talk to as many people as possible, to reach out to old friends, to see what the momentum was like,” said Diaz. “I was amazed to get as much support as I did.”

The deadline to report money raised in the Senate District 40 special election is Monday. Neither Rebuild Florida nor Diaz official campaign had posted campaign finance information to the state Division of Elections website as of Monday afternoon, however Rebuild Florida posted contribution data through June 6 on its website.

Records posted to the site show top donors include the Conservative and Principled Leadership Committee, a political committee affiliated with Rep. Carlos Trujillo, a Miami Republican and the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; Free Markets Florida, a political committee associated with Rep. Travis Cummings, Rep. Manny Diaz, and House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues; and Friends of Matt Caldwell, the political committee associated with Rep. Matt Caldwell, who recently announced he was running for Agriculture Commissioner in 2018.

The committee also received contributions from the Florida Prosperity Fund, a political committee chaired by Ryan Tyson, the vice president of political operations for Associated Industries of Florida; Frontline Insurance; and Sunshine Gasoline Distributors.

State records show Rebuild Florida raised nearly $1.3 million through April. It ended the month of April with $825,082 cash on hand. All told, Diaz said he has raised about $1.25 million for his campaign.

Diaz said he has been in nonstop campaign mode while back at home, and said it has been “fun getting to know the voters.”

“It’s been an overwhelmingly fund experience,” he said.

Diaz faces former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Lorenzo Palomares in what is expected to be an expensive and contentious GOP primary. Outside groups are already pouring money into the race, and the battle is only expected to get more volatile as Election Day nears since Democrats see it as a must-win seat.

Diaz de la Portilla raised $22,500 during the fundraising period. Records show he loaned his campaign $50,000 during the same time period

State records show Palomares reported raising $9,000 during the fundraising period. Palomares, according to state records, also loaned his campaign $15,000. He spent $13,953 during the same time span.

Democrats Ana Rivas Logan and Annette Taddeo are battling it out for their party’s nomination. Rivas Logan raised $10,425 and loaned her campaign $2,500. As of Monday afternoon, Taddeo had not yet posted fundraised numbers to the state website.

The special primary election to replace Artiles, a Miami-Dade Republican who resigned in April amid scandal, is July 25. The general election is Sept. 26.

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