Democrats have fundraising lead in two Hillsborough state House contests

Both parties are trying to hold districts they have won before.
Andrew Learned and Jen McDonald
Andrew Learned and Jen McDonald [ handout ]
Published Sept. 10, 2022|Updated Sept. 10, 2022

Democrats lead in campaign funding in two competitive Hillsborough County state House races — East Hillsborough’s District 69 where Democratic Rep. Andrew Learned faces a challenge from Republican Danny Alvarez in a GOP-leaning swing seat, and the South Tampa-based District 65, where Democrat Jen McDonald and Republican Karen Gonzalez Pittman are battling for an open seat.

The South Tampa race offers Democrats a rare chance to flip a Republican seat. It’s currently held by Rep. Jackie Toledo, who left it for an unsuccessful congressional run.

Pittman has raised more money, $197,702 as of Aug. 26, and gave his campaign a $10,000 loan, but spent nearly all of it in a tough primary battle.

McDonald, with no primary opponent, had raised $150,191 and spent only $23,177, and has about $12,500 in an independent committee.

The district leans Democratic — it voted 52-47 percent for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020. But Republicans are likely to fund Pittman’s campaign heavily in an attempt to hold the seat.

In District 69, which has been a battleground district in the last few election cycles, Learned has the advantage of incumbency. He had raised $257,586 and spent $70,870 as of Aug. 26 and had about $43,000 in an independent committee.

Alvarez had raised $173,027 and spent $40,528.

The district voted 51-48 percent for Trump in 2020, but it constitutes a Democratic beachhead in conservative East Hillsborough.

Under the previous district map, Adam Hattersley established that beachhead by winning a district in the same vicinity in 2018. Democrats are eager to hold the swing seat, and Republicans want it back.