With a month to go until the primary, House Speaker Pro Tempore John Legg, R-New Port Richey, has a healthy financial advantage over two Republican primary opponents in the Senate District 17 battle to replace Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, in representing parts ofPasco and Hillsborough counties.
In the second quarter of 2012, Legg raised more than $21,500 and spent more than $23,500. During the campaign so far, Legg has brought in almost $168,500 and has spent almost $50,500 -- leaving him with a healthy war chest in the final weeks of the primary contest and for the general election in November.
While he already has the support of many prominent Republicans in Tallahassee, Legg unveiled more endorsements last week including those of former Gov. Jeb Bush, former Mayor Rick Baker of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Builders Association.
Legg trumpets the support of Bush, incoming Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and other prominent Republicans in a commercial unveiled last week.
I am grateful to have the support and help of these great GOP leaders, and I thank them for their support and help in my effort to serve the residents of this community, Legg said in a statement when the commercial was released. With their continued support, I pledge to continue our fight to improve our economy and bring jobs back to Tampa Bay.
Legg faces two opponents for the Republican nomination, both of whom will be hard pressed to match him in spending in the crucial final weeks before the primary on Aug. 14.
Former Rep. Rob Wallace, an engineer who served eight years in the House, is looking to return to Tallahassee, this time as a member of the Florida Senate. Wallace raised more than $14,000 in the second quarter of 2012 and loaned his campaign $8,500. During that period, Wallace spent more than $25,500. Since opening his campaign account at the end of February, Wallace has raised more than $22,500, taken out $11,000 in loans and spent almost $29,000 -- leaving around $4,500 in the bank.
John Korsak is also seeking the Republican nomination. A security consultant who served in the Secret Service, the Marines and the Army Reserve, Korsak has also been active with local Republican organizations. In the second quarter of 2012, Korsak raised more than $5,300 and spent more than $10,500. Since entering the race in January, Korsak has raised less than $16,500 and spent more than $13,000.
Whoever emerges from the Republican primary will have to face veteran and retired engineer Wes Johnson, who has sewn up the Democratic nomination, in November. Johnson entered the race at the end of April and had some impressive fundraising in the second quarter. During that period, he raised almost $25,000 and spent almost $10,000 of that amount.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.