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Money flowing fast to legislative contests, as well as to the virtual no contests

A handful of Florida’s legislative races are shaping up to be interesting fights this fall as the second quarter campaign contributions roll in, but candidates leading in the many other races, the virtual no contests, also continue to draw considerable campaign cash.

The last reporting period includes reports between Sept. 15 and Sept. 28 and we’ll be seeing reports every two weeks now until Nov. 6. A big thank you to Christina Johnson of On3Pr for her helpful compilation once again. Download G2-Sen_Hse-Campaign-Report-for-10.05

There are several candidates who keep raising money despite the size of the contests they face. We wonder, shouldn’t somebody throw the white flag? Call the game? Put the money into starting a company and create jobs?

The total amount of cash on hand for the many one-sided races in the Senate, as of Sept. 28, was $3 million. (The candidates: Gaetz, Evers, Thrasher, Simmons, Gibson, Hays, Gardiner, Stargel, Altman, Latvala, Grimsley, Lee, Galvano, Ring, Benacquisto, Negron and Sobel.) Think of the possibilities for venture capital!

Here are our observations about the Senate contests:

  • MARGOLIS: Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, is getting a run for her money, literally, from Miami lawyer John Couriel of Miami Beach in this newly drawn district. Margolis has raised a total of $156,363, including $19,336 this period. She also loaned herself  $160,000 early on to try to fend off opponents. She has $172,300 cash on hand. Couriel has raised more, $202,095 total and $12,310 this period. It is clearly a get out the vote fight. This district trends Democratic, however, with 61 percent voting for Obama in 2008 and Alex Sink in 2010.  
  • BOGDANOFF v. SACHS: Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale continues to trounce Sen. Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, in fundraising but she’s also spending more. Sach reported raising $7,250 during the most-recent period in the District 34 race while Bogdanoff raised $39,366. Reapportionment put the two incumbents together in the Palm Beach and Broward county district. This is a race incoming Senate President Don Gaetz has acknowledged will be a tough one.
  • SOTO v. MCBRIDE: Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, has the numerical advantage in this open Central Florida seat but he faces a tough challenger in Republican Will McBride. Soto has raised $175,000 including last period and has $65,000 cash on hand. McBride, raised $1,800 during the latest period for a total of $75,317, loaned his campaign $205,000 and has $33,000 left.
  • BEAN v SODERBERG: Former state Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, has also been busy this period, raising $46,330, because after his tough primary win, he has another contest. Democrat Nancy Soderberg is a formidable challenge, Gaetz reports. Soderberg, the Jacksonville Beach college professor and former national security official in the Clinton administration has raised $155,055, bought $75,000 in television ad time, according to the News Service of Florida, and has a political committee that has raised $110,060 including a $10,000 check from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
  • ABRUZZO v PETERSON: Rep. Joe Abruzzo, D-Royal Palm Beach, challenger Republican Melanie Peterson was showing some kick in the open Palm Beach County seat, but Abruzzo continues his fundraising lead, collecting $19,850 in contributions during the last period, for a total of $173,429, with nearly $100,000 still on hand. Peterson, of Delray Beach, raised $5,400 during the period and had collected an overall total of $30,725.
  • BRUNO v. HUKILL: Bruno, the chairman of the Volusia County Council, raised $9,630 for his race against Rep. Dorothy Hukill, a Port Orange Republican who raised $32,114. The newly redrawn District 8 includes most of Volusia County, a large chunk of Marion County and a corner of Lake County.
  • SMITH v SMITHMYER: Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, is taking the contest from the name-trick challenger seriously. Republican Chris Smithmyer has raised $2,000 and spent $1,842 through Sept. 15 but Smith has raised $188,860 and spent $111,223.

Here are some of the lucrative, one-sided, races:

  • LATVALA: Sen. Jack Latvala R-St. Petersburg, faces a Democratic opponent who has raised $675. Latvala? He’s raised $530,167, including $19,710 this period. Cash on hand: $283,057. His war chest is also being used to shore up supporters for his  Senate presidency fight with Sen. Joe Negron in 2016. These numbers don’t include money to their political committees.
  • NEGRON: Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, is edging Latvala slightly in contributions to his political campaign with $579,990 collected so far, including $21,500 this period. He has $227,587 cash on hand.
  • GAETZ: Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, has raised $697,300 against his NPA opponent Richard Harrison who has raised $1,000.
  • GRIMSLEY: Outgoing state Rep. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, is clearly in no contest in her race for the Senate but the former House appropriations chair has raised $849,159, including $16,078 in the last period. Her Democratic opponent, Stacy Anderson McCland, has raised $6,405 -- more than 100 times less than Grimsley.
  • GALVANO: Former state Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, is another Senate newcomer who has amassed a hefty war chest against his Democratic opponent Paula House. He has raised $480,787, including $7,700 this period and spent $9,000. House reported spending only $8.53 this period.
  • THRASHER: Sen. John Thrasher has a massive advantage against his opponent, Democrat Kathleen Trued. He’s raised $506,065, and raised in this period all that his opponent has collected, $9,500. With $191,722 cash on hand, he can trounce Trued’s $4758 cash on hand.
  • SIMMONS: Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, has raised $326,264, including $34,522 this period. He has  about $200,000 on hand. Democratic opponent Leo Cruz of Oviedo, has raised $2,565, through Sept. 15.
  • GARDINER: Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Winter Park, has raised $512,775 this election, including $8,450 this period. His opponent, Democrat Christopher Pennington, has raised a total of $6,390.
  • SOBEL: Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, has raised $266,897, including $13,875 this period, to fend off Republican Juan Selaya, who has raised $4,900 and has $2,441 in cash on hand.