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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

With 6 months until primaries, top fundraisers in Florida Senate races

State Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is running for the Florida Senate in the Panhandle, has raised more money for his campaign than any other candidate running for the Senate.

Scott Keller/Times

State Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is running for the Florida Senate in the Panhandle, has raised more money for his campaign than any other candidate running for the Senate.

19

February

The battle to see who will represent the Florida Panhandle in the state Senate continues to set up as the most expensive contest for the Legislature in 2016.

Campaign finance reports show the two Republicans have raised almost $1.6 million combined for their Aug. 30 GOP primary. State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, has raised nearly $900,000 for his campaign account. Bay County Commissioner George Broward Gainer has raised about $679,000. Those totals also rank them as the No. 1 and No. 2 fundraisers for Senate races in 2016.

The Republicans are battling for a newly redrawn Senate District 2, which includes much of Okaloosa County and all of Bay County.

Below is a list of the top 5 fundraisers for State Senate races.

$894,508 – State Rep. Matt Gaetz. The Panhandle Republican is running to replace State Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who cannot run for re-election because of term limits.

$679,125 – George Broward Gainer. A current Bay County commissioner, Gainer is challenging Gaetz for District 2. To start off his campaign, Gainer, an automobile dealer, gave his campaign a $500,000 loan.

$513,437 – Lauren Book. The Democrat from Planation is seeking the District 32 seat, an area which has been held by term-limited Democrat Sen. Eleanor Sobel.

$467,195 – Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island. The incumbent so far faces no opposition for re-election to Distict 5.

$422,077 - State Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, who is running against fellow state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, to replace State Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits. Passidomo has raised just under $260,000.

[Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2016 6:51pm]

    

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