Thrasher near $600K and counting
If Republican John Thrasher's bid for a state Senate seat falters Tuesday, it won't be for a lack of money. Through last Friday, the former House speaker raised $591,000 as he seeks to succeed the late Jim King in a Jacksonville-based Northeast Florida Senate seat. Taken together, the four candidates have raised $1.1-million in a few weeks. Second is Pontre Vedra businessman Dan Quiggle, who reported $189,000; third highest is Jacksonville City Council member Art Graham ($181K), with ex-Rep. Stan Jordan last, having raised $114,000.
Needless to say, these totals look like pocket change compared to the massive expenditures by a dozen or so 527 committees, which can't be tracked because of a recent court decision that voided reporting requirements for so-called electioneering groups. An operative working for one candidate reports that Republican voters in the district are "very, very fatigued" after weeks of direct-mail pieces, radio and TV ads, robo calls, and repeat visits by volunteers canvassing neighborhoods. In recent days, a pro-Quiggle group has been bombarding the airwaves with ads criticizing all three of his opponents.
Polls are open from 7 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. So far, more than 11,000 people have cast ballots through early voting or absentee ballots. The race tests the power of a Jeb Bush endorsement (for Thrasher); the power of trial lawyer-sponsored advertising (against Thrasher); and the ability of the Senate leadership to determine the outcome of an election (Thrasher is the leadership-based candidate).