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Florida Senate Contenders Raise Big Bucks in April

May 13, 2016 - 10:15pm
Dana Young, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Anitere Flores
Dana Young, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Anitere Flores

Florida Senate hopefuls were busy raising big bucks for their campaigns during the month of April. Sunshine State News took a look at what the candidates in some of the state’s most hotly-contested Senate seats raised last month.

Individual contributions are limited to $1,000 per individual for Senate campaign races. The following fundraising totals are from individual contributions and do not include candidate political committees.


Senate District 8
Senate District 8, which covers the Gainesville area, is pitting Republican State Rep. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville against former Florida senator and former Democratic Party Chair Democrat Rod Smith.

In April, Perry raised a little over $61,000 in April. Some of the Republican state representative’s top campaign donations came from a variety of PACs, including Sen. Bill Galvano’s Innovate Florida, Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto’s Protect Florida Families PAC and Friends of Dana Young.

Perry currently has raised $160,000, spending nearly $26,000. He has over $133,000 cash on hand.

Perry’s Democratic opponent Rod Smith raised more than double Perry’s April numbers, bringing in around $130,000 in April. A significant chunk of Smith’s cash came from the Florida Democratic Party, which pumped nearly $40,000 into his campaign fund.

As of this article’s publishing, Smith had raised $238,000 for his attempt to head back to the Florida Senate in 2016.  He has $225,000 cash on hand.

Senate District 18
House Majority leader Dana Young decided to run for this newly-redrawn South Tampa seat which includes parts of South Tampa, Westchase and Town N’ Country.

In April, Young raised a little over $53,000 for her campaign, with most of her campaign contributions coming from PACs and construction companies. Agriculture companies like Southern Gardens Citrus also funneled money into Young’s campaign fund in April.

April was Young’s first full month fundraising in 2016. According to Florida election laws, candidates can’t raise campaign cash while the Legislature is in session. 

Young has already raised big bucks for her campaign, fundraising over $318,000 with nearly $260,000 cash on hand.

Young’s Democratic opponent, Tampa attorney Bob Buesing, had raised no money in April on account of declaring his intent to run for the seat earlier this month.

Senate District 37
Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, will be running in the newly redrawn SD 37. The new district covers parts of Southern Miami, including Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and Key Biscayne. 

DLP boasted a $128,000 fundraising haul during April, bringing his total fundraising number and  cash on hand to over $157,000 as of this article’s publishing. Most of DLP’s April donations were in $1,000 amounts.  

The SD 37 race will be one of the most competitive races this fall, and DLP will face off against Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami. Rodriguez has raised $129,000 for his campaign and around $20,000 in April, bringing his total cash on hand to $119,000.

Senate District 39
Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, will face off against Democrat Andrew Michael Korge for this crucial South Florida Senate seat. 

Like SD 37, SD 39 covers parts of the Miami-Dade area and both major parties have already pumped hefty lumps of cash to try to lead their candidates to victory. 

In April, Flores raised $82,000. She had several $1,000 donations, some of which came from taxi cab companies and various PACs. 

Flores has been a big fundraiser during the race for SD 39, raising over $607,000. After spending nearly half of that amount, Flores has $305,000 cash on hand.

Flores’ opponent Andrew Michael Korge didn’t raise quite as much money as Flores did in April, bringing in $26,000. Most of Korge’s donations came from individuals rather than PACs. Korge has still raised big money for the competitive seat, however, bringing in $246,000 in total, spending $83,000 with $163,000 cash on hand. 


Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen


Keep "showering" these political opportunists with contrubutions & lagniappes and all you're doing is creating corrupt government mammary- leaches who are suddenly and magically smarter than you... and what can they possibly give you in return...? Except maybe indictments.

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