10 first-quarter fundraising reports to keep an eye on

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The first quarter of 2014 closed on March 31, meaning campaign finance reports from congressional, legislative and local candidates have begun rolling in. State and local candidates’ reports are due by April 10th, federal candidates’ numbers by the 15th. 

Here are ten fundraising reports I’ll be keeping an eye on this week.

The campaign accounts of Rick Scott and Charlie Crist — As opposed to the political committees associated with the two gubernatorial candidates, which can raise unlimited dollars, the capped accounts of the candidates are a good indication of the enthusiasm for Scott and Crist. 

“Let’s Get To Work” and Charlie Crist for Florida — In February, Crist’s political committee outraised “Let’s Get To Work,” the committee backing Scott’s re-election. Was Crist’s campaign also able to outraise Scott’s campaign again in March? If so, does it even matter considering that Scott’s committee has a twenty-five million dollar head start? 

Democratic AG candidate George Sheldon — Republican Pam Bondi continues to raise money at a breakneck pace, but the only poll we’ve seen recently showed her just barely leading her two Democratic challengers, George Sheldon and Rep. Perry Thurston. I am convinced Sheldon wins this primary and will be Bondi’s eventual opponent, so it’s intriguing to see if he is raising the kind of money he’ll need to be competitive against Bondi.

Congressional District 2 – Democrat Gwen Graham: There may not be a treasurer’s report more interesting to read than Graham’s, who is challenging Steve Southerland in one of the most high-profile congressional races in the country. Like others, I am interested to see whether she has been able to continue to tap into not only her father’s network, but that of the major national donors. In other words, has Graham become a cause du jour for the national Democratic party? I’m also interested to see how she’s spending her money.

Congressional District 3 – Now that his primary opponent, Jake Rush, has been introduced to the world, let’s see what U.S. Rep Ted Yoho stockpiled for his re-election.

Congressional District 13 – Having won the special election in this district less than a month ago, David Jolly hasn’t had much time to replenish his campaign warchest. However, the best thing he can do to keep Alex Sink or any other Democrat from challenging him in November is to have started raising money hand-over-fist. 

Eric Eisnaugle’s Committee for Justice and Economic Freedom — Eisnaugle is weeks away from returning to the Florida House and is the front-runner within his incoming class to one day be Speaker. Part of maintaining that front-runner status is raising tens of thousands of dollars for him to dole out to his allies, such as Mo Pearson and Scott Plakon, running in competitive legislative races.

House District 5 – After posting an eye-opening first month’s fundraising effort, Santa Rosa Realtor Jan Hooks’ fundraising has slowed down, while former Rep. Brad Drake hit the alarm bells and raised over $111,000 in February. I’m told this will be one to watch, but Hooks will need to show me something for me to keep this race in that status.

House District 68 – Perhaps the most anticipated campaign finance report from a legislative candidate is that of Bill Young II’s. He’s running against Democrat incumbent Dwight Dudley in the most battleground-y of districts. Young will need anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000 to unseat Dudley in Charlie Crist’s home turf. Let’s see what he raised during his first weeks on the trail.

House District 74 – This legislative race may be off the radar screen for some political observers, but it’s shaping up as one that could decide the Speaker’s race mentioned above. Republicans Richard DeNapoli and Julio Gonzalez seem to have little trouble raising money.

Every incumbent up for re-election — But only to see what they raised on March 3, the last day lawmakers could raise money before the commencement of the 2014 Legislative Session.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.