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Ray Pilon brings in $9K, Edward James $5K in HD 72 fundraising

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Sarasota state Rep. Ray Pilon brought in his second-largest fundraising haul since drawing an opponent in the 2016 campaign cycle last month, raising $9,363 during the December reporting period.

The showing takes Pilon to about $74,117 cash on hand after deducting $29,519 in expenditures from his $103,636 total raised.

Pilon’s opponent, Democrat Edward James, added $5,170 to his campaign account last month. The figure, combined with contributions to a political committee supporting his run, bring James’ total to $150,973 on hand.

The third-term lawmaker’s December haul was highlighted by maximum $1,000 donations from Tampa venture capitalist and Step Up for Students founder John Kirtley, a Realtors‘ political committee, and three health care entities registered in Pensacola. Pilon took in 21 contributions overall.

James also received 21 contributions, topped by $1,000 from Sarasota Democrat Margaret Rauch and a labor-affiliated Orlando group.

Pilon and James are facing off in the moderate Sarasota-based HD 72 in a heated legislative race likely to go the distance in November.

Like many central Florida House districts, it favors Republicans more in gubernatorial “off” years than in Democratic-skewing presidential years, though Gov. Rick Scott narrowly lost the district to Charlie Crist in his 2014 bid to retake the governor’s mansion.

Pilon raised $235,000 along the way to defeating Democrat Liz Alpert by a margin of 54 to 46 percent in 2012, the last challenger Pilon faced in a presidential election year. Alpert raised $35,000.

Fundraising by both candidates is likely to far outstrip that pace in 2016.

Pilon has held the seat since ousting Democrat Keith Fitzgerald in 2010. The former Sarasota County Commissioner briefly considered a run for the Senate, but opted to pursue a fourth and final term in the House, citing “unfinished business.”

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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