Will Weatherford continues to overshadow all other House candidates in raising cash

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Speaker-in-waiting Will Weatherford continues to overshadow all other House candidates in raising cash for this fall’s elections, collecting $130,400 during the final three months of 2011, new reports show, reports Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida.

In all, the Wesley Chapel Republican, who is slated to become House speaker in November, has amassed a total of $397,150 to help fuel his re-election bid in District 61. Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, has the next-highest amount, with $248,324.

Incumbent Republicans dominated House fund-raising between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, with 11 bringing in more than $60,000 in contributions, according to reports posted this week on the Department of State’s website.

Freshman Rep. Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, had the second-best quarter behind Weatherford, raising $98,462. He was followed by Rep. Chris Dorworth, a Lake Mary Republican who is slated to become speaker in 2014. Dorworth raised $95,895 during the period.

The fourth quarter of 2011 and the early days of January 2012 were the last chance for House incumbents to raise campaign cash until after the legislative session. Lawmakers are barred from accepting contributions during the session, which started Tuesday and is scheduled to end March 9.

Other top fund-raisers during the quarter included Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, with $90,801; Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, with $87,860; Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, with $84,004; and Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, with $76,900.

When counting earlier quarters, a dozen incumbent Republican have raised more than $150,000 for their campaigns. After Weatherford and Young, Dorworth has the next-highest total at $220,095.

Other top overall fund-raisers include Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, with $192,613; Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville, with $189,133; Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, with $175,865; and Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-New Port Richey, with $175,787.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.