Republican House District 9 candidate James Messer filed his first campaign finance report Thursday, and it looks like Democratic front-runner Loranne Ausley has a serious challenger in the left-leaning district.
After four weeks in the race the Tallahassee attorney amassed $52,000 cash on-hand, a good deal of it coming from fellow attorneys. The total came across 157 contributions, including 20 checks of $1,000 – the maximum contribution for Florida House campaigns.
Former state Rep. Ausley hasn’t released her September report yet, though she’s seen a dropoff in contributions since she opened her campaign with a $75,000 haul back in May. She’s raised about $35,000 in the three months since then, putting her campaign just beyond the $100,000 mark after expenses.
The other Democrat in the race, Arnitta Jane Grice-Walker, raised $175 in July and hasn’t posted any contributions since.
Messer’s banner month makes things interesting, but Republicans are at a heavy disadvantage in the Leon County district and didn’t even field a candidate last year. The last GOP contender, Bradley Maxwell in 2012, took a 62-to-38 drubbing at the hands of state Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, who terms out in 2016.
Maxwell raised about $65,000 in his 2012 campaign, and Rehwinkel Vasilinda came in with just under $100,000. Messer is on a pace to pass Maxwell’s total pretty quickly, but he’ll need to do a lot better than that to overcome his longshot odds in the district.