Matt Gaetz has outstanding 3Q fundraising, adds $121K for 2016 Senate bid

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State Rep. Matt Gaetz must believe in hitting the ground running, because he wasted little time raising extraordinary amounts of money for his 2016 bid for the Florida Senate.

The Fort Walton Beach Republican accumulated more than $121,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to the state Divisions of Elections.

The $121,490 for the third quarter, along with $1,046 of in-kind donations, brings Gaetz’s total to $381,670 since May 13, after announcing he is running for the Senate District 1 seat held by his father, Senate President Don Gaetz, who will be term limited in 2016.

Currently, the 31-year-old Gaetz represents State House District 4, which covers most of Okaloosa County.

Gaetz’s broad-based support, with nearly 325 individual donations during the third quarter averaging $380.50 each, includes $13,500 from the health care industry, $13,600 from real-estate groups and $7,000 from farming interests. State Sen. Wilton Simpson, his wife Kathryn and their Trilby egg farm each donated $500.

Among the PACs backing Gaetz with $500 checks are the MHD Committee for Responsive Government, Committee for Accessible Government, Florida Freedom and Florida Leadership Funds.

Since Rep. Jimmy Patronis dropped out of the Senate District 1 race in July, Gaetz has been running unopposed. By posting such impressive fundraising numbers over two years before the 2016 election cycle, drawing a serious contender to challenge Gaetz may be difficult.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.