As the campaign enters the final month before the Republican primary on Aug. 14, in SD 15 Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, is leading her two GOP opponents in the money chase as they battle it out for the Senate seat centered around Polk County.
First elected to the Florida House in 2008, Stargel --whose husband served two terms in the Florida House before heading to the bench to serve as a judge -- raised more than $60,000 in the second quarter of 2012.
While she spent almost $48,500 during the second quarter, Stargel has been keeping her powder dry. So far in the 2012 election cycle, she has raised more than $206,750 and kept most of it in the bank, spending less than $94,500. With a month to go until the primary, Stargel has more than $112,000 on hand, an impressive war chest that towers over what her Republican rivals have been able to stash away.
Jack Myers, the mayor of Auburndale and a former Polk County commissioner, has not been able to march Stargels fundraising pace. Myers raised more than $22,500 in the second quarter and spent more than $55,000. So far during the 2012 election cycle, Myers has raised just under $150,000 and spent almost $109,000 -- giving him around $41,000 in the final weeks before the primary.
Businessman and conservative activist Ron Rushing trails far behind Stargel and Myers in the money chase. He raised slightly more than $300 in the second quarter and took in more than $1,700 through in-kind donations. Rushing spent almost $2,900 during that period. So far in the 2012 election cycle, he has raised more than $6,900, spent more than $5,800 and relied on more than $4,700 through in-kind donations.
Whoever emerges on the Republican side after the Aug. 14 primary will face Democratic candidate Stego Blue, a Navy veteran. Since entering the race in the latter half of May, Blue raised $700, loaned his campaign $1,600 and spent almost $2,100 in the second quarter of 2012.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.