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Politics

Don Gaetz says Ellyn Bogdanoff Poised to Capture Dem-leaning South Florida District

October 16, 2012 - 6:00pm

Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, is slightly up in the only contest involving two sitting senators, according to internal polling, said Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

And in what may be good news for advertisers in the Democratic-leaning Palm Beach-Broward district, in what should be the heart of President Obama country, the contest is going to attract about $8 million by the time all votes are cast, he said.

Bringing Ellyn Bogdanoff back is a big priority for our caucus, said Gaetz during an informal lunch with reporters on Tuesday.

We will raise money and deploy it on her behalf until the last moment.

The majority of Gaetzs estimated money for District 34 will come from outside groups including Gaetzs fundraising committee, the Florida Leadership Alliance -- and the state parties.

Gaetz wouldnt say how much his committee has put up.

The Florida Democratic Party did not immediately return a request for comment.

Bogdanoff has so far spent $457,242 of the $537,142 she has raised in the campaign and received another $206,873 through in-kind donations, according to state Division of Elections records.

Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray,has received $281,676 of which she has spent $192,739 and received an additional $135,582 through in-kind help.

Randy Nielsen, a West Palm Beach political consultant with Public Concepts that is involved in a number of senate contests, said Sachs should be well-positioned in the district but Bogdanoff may be helped by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, particularly with Jewish voters.

You have a fair number of well-off Democrats that are voting with their pocket books in a lot of these races in South Florida, Neilson said. The presidents class warfare argument is scaring some of these people.

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink took the district by 10 percentage points over Gov. Rick Scott in 2010 and President Obama defeated John McCain by 12 points in 2008.

But where McCain captured about 20 percent of the Jewish vote, Romney is trending favorably with more than 30 percent.

The district, 34, was seen as somewhat of a sacrificial lamb in the Senates 2012 redistricting effort for being one of only two that pitted sitting senators into the same district.

The other mix -- that could have had Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, against Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland -- was cleared up well before the qualifying period when Simmons simply moved to a neighboring district that didnt have an incumbent.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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