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Top Senate fundraisers have slow July

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July fundraising numbers are in, though none of the big-ticket Senate races for 2016 got much action, and with the Special Session on Redistricting, it should stay that way for sitting lawmakers during the back half of August.

Fort Walton Beach Republican state Rep. Matt Gaetz brought in $16,855 for the month and spent $7,629, leaving him with a formidable $441,907 cash-on-hand heading into August.

Gaetz is still uncontested for the District 1 Senate seat currently held by his father, Niceville state Sen. Don Gaetz, though there are still rumblings a primary challenger could swoop in and give him a fight.

In District 5, Ocala state Rep. Dennis Baxley maintained his monumental lead over Inverness state Rep. Jimmie Smith – although both candidates burned about as much as they brought in for July, ending with $121,054 and $25,947 cash-on-hand, respectively.

The three-way race in District 13 saw Republican frontrunner Dean Asher bring in $3,450 for the month, with Democrat Judge Roach adding $1,758. The third candidate, Republican Chuck Sheridan, hasn’t posted numbers yet though he didn’t raise any money after filing June 18. Asher is sitting pretty with $142,686 on hand – a six-figure lead over Roach’s $31,691.

In what is sure to be the messiest primary in the Senate, Republican state Rep. Matt Hudson raised $3,000 against $1,628 in expenditures while Gary Price raised $5,775 and spent $12,224.

It might have been a good month for Naples Republican state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo to make up some ground in the money game, and she did. But her net of $8,518 keeps her firmly in third place.

Heading into August, Hudson had $227,659 on hand, with Price at $102,536 and Passidomo at $75,665.

Most of the rest of the Senate candidates posted less than $1,000 in contributions for the month.

Former state Rep. Perry Thurston added $11,500 in his campaign against state Rep. Gwyn Clarke-Reed for the District 31 seat. He now has $35,769 on hand, with Clarke-Reed sitting at $1,041 nearly two full months after entering the race.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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