SPENDING IN STATE HOUSE RACE GROWS AS AUGUST PRIMARY APPROACHES

Candidates for Florida House District 120 are spending campaign dollars as an Aug. 23 primary approaches. MIRIAM DOERR MARTIN FROMMHERZ/Shutterstock

Just weeks remain before registered Republican and Democratic voters select a Florida House candidate to represent their party in the Nov. 8 election. With an Aug. 23 primary approaching, candidates are collecting and spending money as they make their names and platforms known through mailers, advertisements and more. 

Republican incumbent Jim Mooney’s campaign gathered contributions totaling $229,843, per the latest campaign finance records. His contribution account received a boost when the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee provided $56,000 in late April and the Republican Party of Florida funneled $43,450 dating back to May. In-kind contributions total $65,691. 

Since June, Mooney’s campaign has gathered $35,500 in contributions and spent $66,464. During July, his campaign spent $34,109 on advertising, promotional materials, finance consulting and other event supplies. 

Since he announced his reelection for state representative, Mooney’s campaign has spent $101,840. 

Republican challenger Rhonda Rebman Lopez, who lost by only 148 votes in the 2020 Republican primary, garnered contributions totaling a little more than $105,213 for her campaign. Her political action committee, Advocates for Florida Keys Protection, has gathered $34,883 to date. 

A majority of her contributions have come from residents within the district. They include Islamorada fishing guide Steve Friedman, commodore of the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association; Jim McCarthy, vice president of sales and operations for Tom Thumb; and former Monroe County Mayor Mario Di Gennaro. On July 1, Rebman Lopez took out a $10,100 loan. 

Since announcing her candidacy, Rebman Lopez has spent $91,697 on her campaign. Since June, her campaign has spent more than $67,000 on various things, including consulting and direct mailers from Dark Horse Strategies marketing firm in Miami, advertising and media, campaign work and campaign staff. 

The third Republican challenger in the race, Robert Allen, has received $150 in campaign contributions so far, of which $50 come from him and $100 from Rose Dell, of Big Pine Key. Allen took out a $3,200 loan on June 13 and $1,500 loan on July 21.

A house painter from Big Pine Key, Allen spent $2,064 on his campaign to date, of which $1,781 was paid to the division of elections in order to qualify. 

On the Democratic side, lawyer and Big Coppitt Key resident Adam Gentle has gathered a little over $100,000 between his campaign and affiliated political committee, Adam for Democracy, since announcing his bid to run in early January. Contributions to his campaign come from as far west as Los Angeles, as far north as New York and south to Key West. 

Since June, he’s received $8,200 in contributions and has spent more than $31,000 on web management, consulting, mailers, digital ads, the qualifying fee, database management and other things. 

So far, Gentle’s campaign has spent a little more than $57,000 on the campaign. He’s received in-kind contributions totaling a little more than $4,400. 

Lawyer and Cutler Bay resident Daniel Horton-Diaz has received more than $62,000 in campaign contributions since he announced his candidacy at the beginning of the year. Since June, he’s received $7,795 in contributions. 

In that same time, he’s spent close to $32,000 for things such as campaign consulting, printing, website maintenance and digital media, among other things. He’s taken out $16,000 in loans. In-kind contributions total $1,120.

Winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries on Aug. 23 will face one another in the Nov. 8 election for the opportunity to represent constituents in the Florida Keys and south Miami-Dade county. 

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Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family (he's expecting a little boy in October).