Saturday, April 21, 2018
Politics

William March: Ken Hagan raises unprecedented six-figures for three months running

Summer fundraising lull? What summer fundraising lull?

Republican County Commissioner Ken Hagan has begun his re-election campaign with a fundraising feat that appears unprecedented — $100,000 in each of the first three months of his campaign.

Hagan reported raising $100,759 during June, following reports of $101,200 in May and $100,510 in April, when he filed. After a few refunds, his total is $300,460.

Since 2000, when campaign finance reports became accessible online, only four other candidates have raised $300,000 or more in their entire campaigns — Rose Ferlita in 2006, Al Higginbotham in 2014, Sandy Murman in 2016, and Kevin Beckner in 2012. None of them beat $100,000 in a single month.

Hagan raised $358,241 in 2010 and $304,805 in 2014.

He has said his preferred strategy is to raise money early in the race so he can devote the election year to campaigning. But the tactic also helps scare off potential competitors.

So far, Hagan has one GOP primary opponent, first-timer Chris Paradies, and no Democratic challenger.

As in previous months, Hagan's report shows heavy contributions from real estate development interests, and a number of contributions from corporations with a single owner. That effectively enables one individual to legally give several times the maximum allowed.

In June, for example, he received nine contributions of the maximum $1,000 each from corporations associated with Jeffery Hills of Eisenhower Property Group, five $1,000 contributions from corporations tied to developer Steven Samaha, and three $1,000 contributions from companies linked to investor Jonathan Politano of Aventura.

Term-limited in his current countywide seat, Hagan is running for the District 2 seat representing north central and northeastern Hillsborough County.

Slow start in Hillsborough commission District 1

What's likely to be a tough battle for the District 1 county commissioner's seat, meanwhile, is starting slowly.

Democratic Tampa City Council member Yolie Capin, the first to enter the race when she filed in late May, so far hasn't raised a dime.

Republican Aakash Patel reported raising $51,187 in his first month as a candidate, including a $20,000 loan from himself. He says he has 17 fundraising and meet-and-greet events planned before the end of the year, including a kick-off July 25.

Both candidates have actually filed to run in 2020. Technically, the District 1 seat isn't on the 2018 ballot right now.

But it's expected to be placed on the 2018 ballot as a special election when current District 1 Commissioner Sandy Murman resigns halfway through her term, as she has announced she will do, to run for a countywide seat. Capin and Patel will then switch to 2018.

Capin doesn't plan to raise any money until a kickoff Nov. 8 at a new Gonzmart restaurant planned for Ybor City. Until then she's just recruiting backers.

"Right now, I just want the support," she said. "At my kickoff, that's when I want the money."

Sean Shaw quells rumors he seeks Attorney General post

The rumors were partly true: First-term state Rep. Sean Shaw, lawyer, Princeton grad and son of Leander Shaw, the state's first black Supreme Court chief justice, actually was exploring entering the race for attorney general.

There's no announced Democratic big name in the race right now, although Democrats are talking about Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Rundle and megalawyer and donor Mitch Berger.

Democrat and first-time candidate Ryan Torrens, a Tampa lawyer specializing in consumer financial protection, has filed.

But Shaw's out.

"I'm happy where I am and I intend to run for re-election," he said.

He did test the waters, and acknowledged he didn't get encouragement from the Florida Justice Academy, the state's trial lawyers' association, whose support any Democrat seeking the office would need.

Contact William March at [email protected]

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