The Republican primary race in Florida’s 18th congressional district is finally starting to define itself, as several of the candidates running in the race have begun to break away from the pack.Former state Representative, Carl Domino and Dr. Mark Freeman, have both stated that they intend to self-fund their congressional campaigns. When it comes down to who has raised the most campaign cash, these two guys don’t count.
Farmer Rick Roth raised $50K this past quarter, including $1K from former Congressman Mark Foley, as GOP fundraiser Noelle Nikpour added $55K to the $150K she had already reported.
Paul Spain, who ran and lost to Congresswoman Lois Frankel in the 2014 general election when he ran in CD 22, has yet to begin his fundraising efforts.
The top three non-self-funders, combat veteran Brian Mast, Attorney Rick Kozell, and Martin County School Board member Rebecca Negron (Pictured), have all been considered at one point as the frontrunners in the race, but after the 2015 Q4 federal elections reporting cycle there could be a clear frontrunner in the race to replace outgoing Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy.
Negron, who first reported a whopping $175k, largely in part because her husband, Joe Negron, who will be the next Florida Senate President, has seen her past two final fundraising totals take a downward turn.Negron barely raised $107k this past quarter, while Rick Kozell was able to out raise her by $14k.
Kozell, who raised about $100K when he first jumped into the race, reported only $77K in Q3 of last year, just posted $121K for Q4.
Kozell has raised a total of about $300K, while Negron has raised $389K.
Not bad for a political newbie.
On the other hand, Brian Mast has outpaced the field and exceeded fundraising expectations by raising $366k for his congressional campaign, and another $151k through his Mast Victory Committee, bringing his total year-end campaign donation haul to $518k.One of Mast’s many donors is Marta Batmasian, wife of Boca Raton developer and philanthropist, James Batmasian, who pled guilty to felony tax evasion 2008. Marta Batmasian has contributed to the Mast for Congress campaign, but not her husband James, this according to the Mast campaign.
The Batmasians have always donated to both Democratic and Republican campaigns, included that of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Aside from the three raising over $300k each, they are all coming out with endorsements to their campaign from both state and federally elected officials.
Negron has recently announced the endorsements of Florida state Representatives Gayle Harrell and Mary Lynn Magar.
Kozell recently announced Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) endorsement, and Mast announced the endorsements of Reps. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) and Steve Russell (R-OK).With all this campaign dinero being flaunted around by Mast, Negron, and Kozell, it is very peculiar that Negron has decided to begin buying advertising so early in the game, this according to the Palm Beach Post.
One reason why Negron will begin to spend campaign cash on advertising is to try to counter Brian Mast’s nationwide name recognition.
Mast has been able to garner a slew of national TV appearances, including a one hour History Channel segment that recently aired, recounted the night that Mast was critically injured, losing both his legs and a finger.
As far as the Democratic congressional candidates, millionaire Randy Perkins will is easily walking away with his party’s congressional nomination.