Florida Republicans Raise Big Money to Replace Democrat Congressman


The soon-to-be hotly-contested Republican primary race in Florida’s 18th congressional district will not mirror the God-awful and boring 2014 GOP primary race in this same district.

This will be a race to watch.

No one in the 2014 race was able to raise any money, except for former Rep. Carl Domino, who benefitted from the contributions he made to his campaign.

Domino went on to get clobbered by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) by 20 percentage points in a Republican swing year election.

The 2016 primary election cycle will be different, as Republicans have raised close to $1 million.

There are six announced Republican candidates in the race, including Domino, who are ready to make a strong push to replace the outgoing Murphy. Murphy is running for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

Democrats are already getting behind Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, a mother of three and staunch liberal Democrat, who has raised $183,000, a lot of that money coming from the liberal ActBlue non-profit,

What about these Republicans? How much did they each raise?

Here is a breakdown and analysis of all the candidates:

Carl Domino—Career Politician and Candidate

$208,000 (Loaned himself this amount, no contributions)
Announced April 2014

Domino is coming off a big election night loss to Rep. Patrick Murhpy (D). He had to drop in a lot of his own money to be competitive and was only able to raise about $300k in the entire election cycle.

Domino ran in three straight election cycles and lost. Will the fourth time be the charm?

Paul Spain—Businessman

$635 (Loan)
Announced late June 2015

Spain ran in Florida’s 22th congressional district against Rep. Lois Frankel (D) and lost big because he wasn’t able to raise more than $10 (he raised a little bit more than that) for his congressional campaign. Spain loaned his campaign $125,000 in his 2014 losing effort.

Tod Mowery—St. Lucie County Commissioner

Announced May 2015

Mowery’s FEC report is not out yet. But according to his campaign, Mowery raised about $85k. Considering that he is a sitting county commissioner, we expect Mowery to have used his bully pulpit to raise campaign dollars from local and state special interests and small businesses with interests in St. Lucie County.

This is how politics work.

Brian Mast—Combat Wounded Vet and Fox News Favorite

Announced June 9, 2015

Mast, the political newbie with no fundraising base and who lost both of his legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan, announced his congressional campaign with an inspiring video that landed him two Fox News TV hits. In addition to Fox, it seem as if Mast’s story is resonating around the country, as the overwhelming bulk of his donations have come from individuals outside of the district.

Mast could pose a real threat in this congressional district that is heavy with military veterans. Even Democrats are saying that Mast could be the one that will face McKinlay in the general election.

Mast loaned his campaign $9,499.

Can Mast keep this up?

Rick Kozell—Attorney and Establishment Republican

Announced June 9, 2015

Kozell, one of those young Palm Beach Republicans, who was groomed in party ways, jumped in the race the same day Mast did. In the same amount of time, Kozell was able to tap into his donor base of establishment Republicans. Attorneys and lobbyists from South Florida and Washington, D.C., chipped in cash, as did his family.

Kozell was able to raise money from Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart (his former employer), the firm former U.S. Senator and then-Charlie Crist Republican George LeMieux currently runs.

According to the FEC, Kozell received $10,800 from his family. Kozell has only loaned his campaign $100.

Rebecca Negron—State Sen. Joe Negron’s Wife and Martin County School Board Member.

Announced May 2015

As expected, Negron has been able to use her husband’s bully pulpit in Tallahassee to raise money from major lobbyists and special interests beholden to her husband Sen. Joe Negron.

Senator Negron could be the next Senate president in the GOP-led state legislature, leaving many attorneys and lobbyist feeling compelled to donate to his wife.

Negron himself considered running for the U.S. Congress a few years ago, leaving many in south Florida to question if Rebecca is running as a mere place-holder for her husband.

Negron has not loaned her congressional campaign any money.

Who is really running for Congress, Joe Negron or his wife Rebecca?


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