Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin is starting his Republican primary challenge to U.S. Rep. Ross Spano of Dover with a bang — $266,786 raised in his first two weeks as a candidate, including $160,000 of his own money.
Franklin’s first campaign finance report shows fundraising from his March 16 filing until March 31, the end of the first quarter of 2020. None of the other candidates in the race — Spano and Democrats Adam Hattersley or Alan Cohn — has yet filed for the quarter. Reports are due next week.
Franklin reported contributions from three members of the Barnett family, politically influential founders of Publix supermarkets, and three Lakeland-based members of The Southern Group, a high-powered Tallahassee lobbying firm.
Spano, meanwhile, announced the day Franklin filed that he was suspending campaign activity, while criticizing Franklin for filing during the pandemic, and announced last week he’s continuing the suspension.
However, he’s continuing to fundraise and hold telephone townhall meetings with constituents through his congressional office. The other campaigns haven’t announced suspensions but are doing much the same — fundraising and electronic outreach.
Political insiders say lack of attention to politics during the pandemic is likely to help incumbents running for re-election.
Contact William March at firstname.lastname@example.org