The money is flowing into the First Coast where Rep. Ronald Doc Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra, faces two challengers in the Republican primary as he seeks a third term in the Florida House.
First elected in 2008, Renuart, a physician who has risen to become vice chairman of the Health and Human Services Quality Subcommittee, currently represents parts of Duval and St. Johns counties, but he is currently running in House District 17 which contains much of the same area but stretches to the south.
Renuart had an impressive second quarter of fundraising, bringing in almost $91,000 in cash and more than $9,200 through in-kind donations between April 1 and July 6. He spent more than $44,500 during that period. With little more than a month to go until the Aug. 14 primary, Renuart has a war chest of around $97,000 to draw upon as he looks to secure the Republican nomination. Renuart earned the endorsement of the Florida Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
But Renuart does not have an open shot at the nomination. Businessman Mike Davis filed to run for the seat back in April 2011. Davis has deep roots in the area and his familys construction company has been based in St. Augustine for more than 55 years. Despite facing an incumbent in the primary, Davis has garnered some impressive endorsements, including the backing of the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF).
Davis has done a solid job on fundraising, bringing in more than $32,500 in the second quarter but he did not keep his powder dry during that period, spending more than $32,700. As the contest enters its final stages, Davis has around $46,000 in the bank.
Conservative activist Kim Kendall is also seeking the Republican nomination. Kendalls fundraising has been inconsistent, tosay the least. She brought in more than $13,000 in both the second quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 and raised more than $11,000 in the first quarter of 2011. But she stumbled badly in the latter half of 2011, raising little more than $3,000 in both the third and fourth quarters of that year. Kendall brought in more than $6,000 in the second quarter of 2012 while she spent more than $16,000 during that period.
Kendall could be out of gas in the final weeks of the primary contest. While she has raised almost $50,000 in donations for the campaign, Kendall has spent more than $52,500. Kendall loaned her campaign $10,000 at the start of 2011 when she launched her campaign.
The three candidates have generally been stressing their conservatism as the campaign continues. During a forum held in St. Augustine on Wednesday night, they talked about the need for less government regulations to let the private sector grow, increased school choice options and for teaching creationism along with evolution in public schools.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.