The second quarter of the 2014 election cycle closes on Sunday. Campaign finance reports from congressional, legislative and local candidates will begin rolling in not soon thereafter, although most will probably be posted after the July 4th four-day weekend. (Thank goodness On 3 PR’s Christina Johnson will be collecting all of the data for her quarterly “bible” of all of the candidates fundraising reports.)
Here are ten fundraising reports I’ll be keeping an eye on as indicators of how certain candidates may fare in 2014 and beyond.
Governor – Democrat Nan Rich: Thanks to the GOP’s Lenny Curry, who made a great deal of hay out of the Florida Democratic Party’s snubbing of Rich at its Jefferson-Jackson gala, the South Florida Democrat has received more media attention than she could have ever garnered by herself. The question now is whether she has been able to do anything with it all or is her fifteen minutes in the sun up? No one is expecting a big haul from Rich, but if she raised enough money to keep the lights on, she can remain a factor in what will certainly be an interesting Democratic primary once Charlie Crist and/or Alex Sink declare their 2014 intentions.
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 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, i.e., how much does it cost to retain a consultant like Joe Trippi.
Congressional District 13 – Republican Bill Young: When Democrat Jessica Ehrlich filed for a re-match against the U.S. House’s longest-serving member, she may have done so thinking Young would not seek re-election. But what she did was awake a sleeping giant. In May, Young told an aide (in earshot of reporter Alex Leary), “Get me geared up a year earlier.” Young raised $58,000 in the first quarter, while sources close to the campaign say that this next report will show an impressive haul.
Congressional District 26 – Democrat Joe Garcia: With all of the scandal swirling around the embattled first-term congressman, he’ll need every dollar he can muster to ward off whoever emerges as the Republican challenger. Trouble is, Garcia is almost radioactive, politically speaking, so his fundraising may died off once his chief-of-staff was implicated in voter fraud.
Senate District 1 – Republicans Matt Gaetz and Jimmy Patronis – This race isn’t even on the ballot until 2016, but it’s worth checking to see how this expected-to-be-brutal GOP primary is shaping up. Both men are already in high-gear, whether it be at fundraising (Gaetz has at least four fundraising events scheduled these last two weeks of the quarter) or social media, where the two legislative colleagues have been engaged in a running frenemy duel.
House District 6 – Three Republicans — Mark Anderson, Melissa Hagan, and Brian Rust, Jr., — have already crowded into the seat being vacated by Patronis due to term limits. Let’s see if any of them made headway with the Tallahassee lobby corps, and if so, which industries.
House District 29 – Democrat Mike Clelland and Republican Scott Plakon: Perhaps the most battleground-y of Central Florida battleground seats with Clelland coming off his upset of former Speaker Designate Chris Dorworth and Plakon still smarting from his loss to Karen Castor-Dentel. Are the fightfighters and police unions rallying around Clelland? Has Plakon been able to raise the kind of money he’s had in previous campaigns?
House District 31 – Expect this to be one of the most competitive GOP primaries on the House side. Rep. Byron Nelson faces term limits in 2014 and three Republicans — chiropractor Randy Glisson, Terri Seefeldt, and Joseph Stephens — have already filed to run for this seat representing parts of Lake and Orange counties. The chiropractic lobby is desperate to have one of its members back in the Legislature, while Seefeldt has uber fundraiser Beth Babbington shaking the trees for her.
House District 61 – Democrats Ed Narain and Sean Shaw: Don’t look for either of these candidates’ campaign wallets to bulge with fat checks, but the race for HD 61 will be one of the more interesting primaries on the Democratic side of the aisle. Was Narain able to tap into his AT&T connections to raise some telecom cash? Was he able to snag a few checks from the insurance industry, which can’t be excited at the prospect of consumer advocate Shaw in Tallahassee? Remember, Shaw was the top fundraising non-incumbent Democrat last quarter.
House District 65 – Republican Chris Sprowls: The charismatic state prosecutor is challenging incumbent Democrat Carl Zimmermann for a seat that was held by the GOP’s Peter Nehr for three terms and trends Republican. Sprowls is closely connected to all of the right people in north Pinellas and Pasco, from Rep. Mike Fasano to the Latvala clan. He should have been able to raise a sizable warchest by now.
House District 68 – Democrat Dwight Dudley: The first-termer is staring at the prospect of Billy Young, son of the longtime congressman, entering the race later this year. This seat — the most competitive House seat in the state over the last two decades — is currently trending slightly Democrat. But Young should be able to raise, what, a half-million dollars? Maybe more, just from the utility industry, which is already furious with Dudley. For his part, Dudley needs to bank as much money as soon as possible in preparation for what is sure to be a sizzling race.
Also keep an eye on: Senate District 22’s Jeff Brandes, SD 34’s Maria Sachs, House District 30’s Bob Cortes, and HD 120 incumbent Holly Raschein.