Matt Hudsons big February left Kathleen Passidomo in the dust.
The two Southwest Florida Republicans, both of whom currently serve in the Florida House, are running for the Florida Senate seat currently held by Garrett Richter who is termed out in 2016. Theres certainly room for more candidates in the Republican primary and whoever wins it should be on their way to Tallahassee since its a secure seat for the GOP.
Right now, Hudson is the odds-on favorite to win the seat. Well-known in Tallahassee and now serving as speaker pro tempore, Hudson first was elected to the Florida House in 2007 after some local service and balancing his work as a Realtor with his passion for umpiring baseball games.
Hudson has only been in the Senate race barely two months but he has certainly made the most of them. January proved kind to him as he took in $79,400. February was even better as he brought in almost $142,500, bringing his haul to $221,890 -- a very impressive figure after only two months. Hudson only spent $1,728 by the end of February, giving him a very strong head start for 2016.
Passidomo simply hasnt been able to keep up. Getting in the race in early November, Passidomo did little fundraising for the first three months of her campaign, bringing in $6,350 during that time. She picked up the pace considerably last month, raising almost $49,000 in February but spending almost $5,600. In her first four months, Passidomo has brought in $55,310 -- not bad, but far beneath what Hudson has been raising.
Despite that, Passidomo has some advantages. She is a pretty well-known lawyer in the area and has been active in Collier County for some time. But she is clearly going to have to far exceed her current fundraising if she wants to keep up with Hudson. Even worse, she had a two-month head start on Hudson which was basically wasted.
Passidomo has one thing going for her. Hudson represents all of Hendry County and none of it is included in the Senate seat he is running for. Passidomo and Hudson both represent parts of Collier County, overlapping the Senate district which also includes part of Lee County.
Hudsons first efforts are incredibly impressive and he is clearly in the lead for the moment. Passidomo is by no means out of it but she will have to renew her efforts once session is over to try to get back in the money race.
Tallahassee-based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.