Democrats Outpaced in Money Chase Against Pam Bondi
Around the State
Outside of Rick Scott, the only conceivable statewide target Democrats have in their sights for November is Pam Bondi, but so far her challengers have yet to impress with their fundraising prowess.
With less than nine months to go until the general election, neither George Sheldon, who entered the race in October, or Perry Thurston, who got in on Nov. 1, have come close to matching Bondi’s fundraising pace.
With no Republican primary opponents, Bondi can also expect to rely heavilly on the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), the GOP leadership and their allies.
Despite some high-profile losses in the constitutional challenge to Obamacare and trying to keep the medical marijuana amendment off the November ballot, Bondi is in solid shape with her base. She also leads in the polls though she fails to crack 50 percent against either Thurston or Sheldon, giving Democrats some signs of hope for November.
But Democrats have picked their target in Florida and it’s Rick Scott, not Bondi. Unlike her Cabinet colleagues Jeff Atwater and Adam Putnam, Bondi should expect to face a serious opponent come November, but Democrats aren’t exactly putting their money on either Sheldon or Thurston quite yet.
Making his third bid for state office, Sheldon was running on fumes at the end of January. Since getting in the race, he has raised more than $78,500 but he’s burned through most of it, going through almost $72,200. January epitomized Sheldon’s problems. He brought in almost $20,200 last month but also spent almost $37,500 in the same period.
Thurston hasn’t been as active on the fundraising trail but at least he hasn’t blown his cash early like Sheldon has. Since getting in, Thurston has raised almost $38,500 and spent around $6,850.
No wonder Mike Morgan, who works for his father John’s Morgan & Morgan law firm, has left the door open to running for the Democratic nomination. Bondi had almost $700,000 in the bank at the end of January -- a massive advantage over Thurston with less than $32,000 and Sheldon’s pathetic $6,300. The only other candidate in the race is Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer, who had around $1,500 on hand at the end of January.
Bondi is nowhere near the lock for another term that Atwater or Putnam are but she is a strong favorite over her current opponents. Democrats might think they have a chance of knocking Bondi off in November but they aren’t placing their bets on either Sheldon or Thurston quite yet.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.