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Randy Perkins garners $1.35 million in first month for congressional bid

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Democrat Randy Perkins took in a massive $1.35 million dollar haul during his first active month of running for Congress, his campaign announced Monday.

The independently wealthy political novice raised some $425,000 from donors, as well as chipping in $1 million of his own money during the fourth fundraising quarter of 2015.

Perkins is seeking to succeed U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is vacating the seat to pursue the open Senate seat currently held by Sen. Marco Rubio. 

The Perkins campaign touted the eye-popping numbers in a news release Monday afternoon.

“I have been overwhelmed by the support for this campaign,” said Perkins in a statement. “Folks are excited about the issues that we want to fight for in Washington, including educational and training programs to ensure the resident of the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast have the same opportunities for success I had as a young man, reforming our broken mental health system, and keeping the promises we’ve made to senior and veterans.”

“This is a clear demonstration of the excitement around Randy’s campaign and the unique experience he will bring to Congress. Randy has a true American success story that will resonate with the voters of Florida’s 18th district,” said Isaiah Nelson, campaign manager for Perkins’ self-recruited bid.

Perkins’ entry was a bombshell along the Treasure Coast, where nearly a dozen entrants had already lined up to take over the slightly Republican-tilting 18th Congressional District.

Murphy has held the moderate seat since its creation. The first-time candidate came to office by way of defeating notorious Republican former U.S. Rep. Allen West, who had switched districts to avoid Murphy.

Perkins is hoping to replicate Murphy’s unusual ascension. Since he jumped in late last year, momentum and fundraising for other candidates, particularly Democrats have flagged. Palm Beach Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, for instance, dropped out soon after Perkins’ entry.

Republicans Carl Domino and Mark Freeman, however, have also said they are willing to pledge $1 million or more of their personal funds to assume the reins in CD 18.

To date, nearly a dozen candidates have either filed to run for the seat or declared their intentions to do so.

Perkins is the founder of AshBritt, a salvage and disaster recovery company that came to prominence after Hurricane Andrew. It was later contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and became one of the largest firms of its type in the nation.

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Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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