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First-time candidate Edward James tops $30k in HD 72 fundraising

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Democrat Edward James III won’t hold yet his first official fundraiser until next week, but that hasn’t stopped him from raising about a thousand dollars a day since he entered the race last month.

James has raised a total of $30,175 according to just-released campaign finance reports, an unusually high figure for a Democratic newcomer.

A majority of that came through the New Direction Florida political committee, which backs James, including a check for $10,000 from Hugh Culverhouse, son of the former owner of the Tampa Bay Bucsand from prodigious Democratic booster Frank Brunckhorst, who added $5,000 the the PAC’s coffers.

James is seeking to oust incumbent state Rep. Ray Pilon, who announced he would seek a final term in the state House after abortively exploring a run for the Senate seat of state Sen. Nancy Detert. Pilon’s campaign has not yet posted his June fundraising figures.

Another Republican candidate, Sarasota GOP treasurer Robert Wyatt, has self-financed his own campaign for the seat to the tune of $150,000, but sources say he will withdraw from the race amid pressure from Pilon. He had previously said he would only seek the seat if Pilon drops out.

Reached for comment, James said: “We’re certainly pleased with the support the campaign has received thus far. I think it’s indicative of the fact that folks are looking for a new direction forward in Florida.”

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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