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Democrat Bernie Fensterwald holding back so far in spending largesse against Chris Sprowls in HD 65

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Fundraising totals for the first 24 days of June were posted at the end of last week, and the numbers that were released should give Chris Sprowls nothing to worry about.

Sprowls is the GOP incumbent running for re-election to his House District 67 seat, which encompasses Palm Harbor, Dunedin and Tarpon Springs. A 32-year-old assistant prosecutor in Pasco/Pinellas Counties, he beat former state Rep. Carl Zimmerman in 2014.

And great things are expected of him, since he’s already been selected to be House Speaker by his colleagues in 2021.

Sprowls has drawn a little-known Democrat — Dunedin’s Bernie Fensterwald — to oppose him in this year’s race.

Fensterwald created a buzz in Florida political circles recently when he listed that he’s worth nearly $20 million on his financial disclosure forms. The worry for Sprowls and Republicans is if he starts spending some of that considerable largesse in this race, they could be in trouble.

That hasn’t happened yet.

To date, Fensterwald has loaned his campaign all of $5,000 since entering the race. Sprowls, meanwhile, has over $140,000 cash on hand in his regular campaign account, and over $361,000 in his super PAC, Floridians for Economic Freedom.

Fensterwald says he’s only now beginning to dig into his own checking account to spend on his campaign, and with over four months to go before the general election, he still has plenty of time to make a move on Sprowls.

In a statement issued last month, Fensterwald said he wasn’t worried about “raking in cash” to support his own political ambition, which seemed to be a dig at Sprowls.

“I am running for State Representative because I vow to never be beholden to anyone but my constituents,” he said. “I will take on the real issues affecting our community by fighting to protect our environment by banning fracking and finding meaningful solutions to climate change, increasing funding to ensure that our children have the resources they need to succeed in their neighborhood public schools and to protect consumers from outrageous rate hikes on Homeowner’s’ and wind insurance policies. It is time to clean up Tallahassee and by working together, we will.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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