Recording a fundraising haul that could mark a turning point in the race for a Sarasota-based swing seat, Democrat Edward James took in $81,150 during the November reporting period, according to just-filed finance data.
The windfall takes James to $166,663 raised overall, with $114,400 of that coming from a political committee supporting James called New Direction Florida. James currently has $149,701 cash on hand between those funds and his campaign account.
James is seeking to oust Republican Rep. Ray Pilon, first elected in 2010, in the largely coastal HD 72 seat in moderate Sarasota County.
At press time, Pilon had not filed his November campaign finance report. Through October, the incumbent had raised $87,424, with about $60,063 remaining on hand.
Topping James’ ledgers in November was a $50,000 donation from Rosalie Danbury, a longtime Democratic donor who gave some $400,000 to Charlie Crist‘s 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
Local Democratic stalwart Frank Brunkhorst and developer Hugh Culverhouse also made substantial contributions of $5,000 and $25,000, respectively.
James told Florida Politics on Wednesday he believes the large fundraising numbers point to enthusiasm for a change in leadership in HD 72, held by Pilon since he defeated former Rep. Keith Fitzgerald in 2010.
“To me, it’s just a sign that there are people in Sarasota who are excited and ready for a new vision for the area, and new leadership in Tallahassee,” said James.