A big-money battle for House District 74 between Richard DeNapoli and Julio Gonzalez will definitely get a little bigger before both square off in the Aug. 26 GOP primary.
DeNapoli and Gonzalez — each vying for the title of “biggest conservative” – is armed to the teeth with large media buys and even bigger war chests.
Fundraising for the two first-time candidates — including loans and in-kind contributions — have now reached $570K as of the first week of August. After taking in account total spending, they have nearly $169,000 combined left to use for winning votes in the heavily Republican district of Osprey, Venice and parts of North Port and Englewood.
DeNapoli, a former Broward Republican Party leader, added another $8,505 during Aug. 1-8, bringing his total to $112,639. With $150K in loans, and total expenditures of $173,893, DeNapoli goes into the final weeks with $88,746 on hand.
Notable in the weeklong reporting period is DeNapoli’s $25,000 media and mailer buy with Strategic Image Management and Tallahassee-based Seven Hills Strategy Group.
For his part, Gonzalez added $1,550 in the same period, for a total of $282,281. The Venice orthopedic surgeon spent $6,718 — including $1,500 for robo calls — for a total of $200,613 in expenditures, and just under $80,000 in cash on hand.
After Gonzalez and DeNapoli have individually found themselves the target of a recent slew of attack videos, websites and other negative ads — mostly produced by outside groups with long financial paper trails — the waning days of the HD 74 primary has undoubtedly become the race to watch, and is one for the record books.