Jeff Brandes, burning through money on paid staff, loans his campaign $500k
In one of the state's most competitive Florida Senate primaries, Republican state Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, reports raising nearly $70,000 in his first fundraising quarter and throwing in $500,000 of his own money. Brandes, whose family started Cox Lumber and who is worth at least $10-million, faces state Rep. Jim Frishe in the GOP primary, but Fishe's latest fundraising report is not yet public.
The vast majority of Brandes' contributions come from outside the district, which includes southern Pinellas and part of Tampa. What's most striking, though, is how much money Brandes has already spent: $265,000. A big chunk of that appears to going to more than three dozen! paid staffers - presumably people walking neighborhoods. That total doesn't include the more than $40,000 he spent promoting himself for re-election as a state representative before he jumped into the senate race.
For a candidate running against creatures of Tallahassee - Frishe - Brandes' campaign sure is relying heavily on Tallahassee interests to fund campaign operatives, many of whom are also from outside the district.
Senate District 22 is a competitive district, which Alex Sink and Barack Obama won, but it will be decided in the Aug. 14 primary. Democrats did not field a candidate.