There is less than a year until the November 2016 elections, but campaign finance records already show where the biggest battles for Florida Legislature seats is developing.
In North Florida, a pair of Republicans have already amassed more than $1 million for what is expected to be one of the mostly hotly contested state senate races.
Another expensive battle is brewing just south of Tampa Bay, with three Republicans seeking to replace state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, in 2016. The three combatants in that race are already close to raising a combined $500,000 in that contest.
Below is the list of the top five fundraisers for Florida House and Florida Senate campaigns going into 2016, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections.
$216,245 – Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes. The House Appropriations Chairman has raised the most money of any House incumbent for his re-election campaign in the Pasco-based District 37 despite no Democratic challengers having filed to challenge Corcoran for re-election. However, he does face a potential GOP primary challenge in Spring Hill Republican Ronson Hale Biedrzycki, who filed to run for the seat in May, but had raised just $50 so far.
$194,295 – State Rep. W. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota. The Sarasota Republican has built a war chest, but not necessarily for re-election. Steube is raising money that is expected to roll over to a Senate campaign committee. Steube is one of three Republicans aiming to replace State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, in District 28. Former State Rep. Doug Holder, R-Venice, has raised $152,000 for the contest, while former Sarasota County commission Nora Patterson has raised $110,000, after just over two months on the campaign. But if Steube is drawn into a different Senate district, some redistricting ideas have suggested, he may be left using that money on defending his current House seat.
$187,896 – Loranne Ausley. The Democrat from Tallahassee is running for a similar district to the one she represented in the Florida House from 2000 to 2008. Ausley is running to replace Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits. Democrat Arnitta Grice-Walker, who has raised just over $1,000 and Republican Jim Messer, who has raised about $78,211 are also running for the seat.
$178,337 – Randy Adam Fine. The Brevard County Republican is seeking to replace term-limited Rep. John Tobia. He is running in a Republican primary in District 53 against Andy Anderson, a Republican who has raised $21,665 for the campaign
$155,159 – Ralph E. Massullo Jr., The Republican is running for District 34, which covers parts of Citrus and Hernando counties. He is seeking to replace Rep. Jimmie Smith, who has filed to run for the Florida Senate. He is the only candidate in the race.
$753,215 – State Rep. Matt Gaetz. The Panhandle Republican is running to replace State Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who cannot run for re-election because of term limits.
$667,465 – George Broward Gainer. A current Bay County commissioner, Gainer is challenging Gaetz for District 1. To start off his campaign, Gainer, an automobile dealer, gave his campaign a $500,000 loan.
$476,712 – Lauren Book. The Democrat from Planation is seeking the District 33 seat, which is currently held by term-limited Democrat Sen. Eleanor Sobel.
$401,269 – Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island. The incumbent so far faces no opposition for re-election to Distict 7.
$364,309 – Sen Anitere Flores, R-Miami. The incumbent so far faces no opposition for re-election to District 37.