Fivestorylines to follow as the fundraising quarter comes to an end

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No doubt you’ve noticed the barrage of last-minute fundraising appeals hammering your inbox today. Because of the Fourth of July holiday, the end of the fundraising quarter for state and local candidates was pushed back to July 6.  Campaign treasurer’s reports are due on July 13.

Here are five local storylines I’m following as the fundraising quarter comes to an end.

1. How much money did lobbyists Ron Book, Guy Spearman and Jack Cory raise for Rachel Burgin’s campaign for State Senate District 24? As Steve Bousquet reported, Book, Spearman and Cory are all behind Burgin after Book and Spearman sued and lost an attempt to overturn the lobbyist fee-disclosure law Burgin’s opponent, Tom Lee, championed while in the Florida Senate. Most of the Tallahassee establishment has lined-up behind Lee, despite his reputation for being a maverick.  Burgin’s only chance of defeating Lee in a primary is to outwork him on-the-ground AND stay competitive in the mailbox and TV.  This means Book, Spearman and Cory needed to have raised Burgin at least $50,000 in direct contributions this last quarter.  Keep an eye on how many of Burgin’s contributions have zip codes based near Miami and Tallahassee.

2. Was second-time-arounder Frank Farkas able to tap into his old network of contributors? One of the most closely watched races in the state is the onee for House District 68 with Democrat Dwight Dudley likely facing-off against Republican Frank Farkas.  The Democrats are eager to take back this seat and believe with Dudley they have a better-than-even shot at doing so.  The Republicans have yet to display a lot of enthusiasm for Farkas. The things to look for in Farkas’ fundraising report are 1) whether the state’s chiropractors are still a fundraising force and 2) what kind of support Farkas received from big name Republican elected officials and leadership funds.

3. What did Jeff Brandes do with the money for his State House campaign before he became a candidate for the State Senate? My friend Jeff Brandes is very much a straight-shooter. But his reputation took a ding during his transition from candidate for the State House to candidate for the State Senate. Rather than transferring the money from his State House campaign, he closed that account and opened a new account for the State Senate. That’s perfectly legal, it just had never been done before.  Now Brandes has an extended period to disclose how he spent the money in his State House account, because it’s viewed as a termination, rather than a transfer.  Still, don’t think Brandes’ opponents or the media are finished making hay of the issue.

4. Were first-time candidates Kathleen Peters, David Phillips or Josh Shulman able to raise big-time money for the campaigns for House District 69? In perhaps the most overlooked legislative race, newcomers Kathleen Peters, David Phillip and Josh  Shulman now have a full fundraising period under their belts to demonstrate their cash-calling prowess.  Whichever one of these candidates breaks out of the pack now may remain the front-runner through November.

5. Did Charlie Justice or Janet Long raise real money for their County Commission races? Justice and Long can receive every endorsement between now and November, but if they don’t raise any real money for their challenges to Republicans Nancy Bostock and Neil Brickfield, it won’t matter which newspaper or organization is supporting them. At this point, it’s difficult to view Justice as one of the worst fundraisers in local politics. Long knows how to raise money, but did she stop complaining long enough to make an ask?

What other fundraising storylines have you intrigued?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.