(The Center Square) – Democrats are running for seats in 119 of Florida's 140 House districts in the Nov. 3 election, and Republican candidates are vying in 96 districts, but a dramatic change in the GOP’s 73-47 chamber advantage is unlikely in 2021.
One potential indicator of that continued dominance is direct campaign fundraising, where Republicans in 95 competitive races have received, on average, at least more than $50,000 in donations than their Democratic opponents.
Only one of 56 Republican incumbents seeking re-election in competitive races had raised less money than their Democratic challengers. Twenty-five Republicans have outraised Democratic opponents by more than $200,000.
Of 14 Democrat incumbents seeking re-election in competitive races – 12 are assured of 2021 seats because they face no challengers – three have been outraised by Republican challengers. Four Democrats have outraised Republican opponents by $200,000.
According to Florida Division of Elections (FDOE) campaign finance reports and a Florida Politics analysis, Republicans in those 95 races had raised $194,000 and spent about $140,000 through Oct 16. Democrats, on average, had raised an average of about $93,000 and spent about $64,000.
The figures do not include, as of the Oct. 16 update, how much independent political committees and party or issue-related legislative campaign committees have been funneling into specific races.
According to the Oct. 16 numbers, first-term incumbent Rep. Daniel Perez, R-Miami, had raised $589,883 – the most raised by any candidate in a state House race and $516,000 more than his Democratic challenger, Bob Lynch, has raised in their House District 116 race. The Miami-Dade Country district is a GOP enclave, with an 11% advantage in voter registration in a region where Democrats have majorities in many districts.
Incumbent Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, had raised the second most in direct contributions, with $541,140 in her campaign chest in the House District 60 race against Democratic challenger Julie Jenkins, who had collected about $240,000 from supporters.
Toledo may need every cent to keep her seat. Despite raising $300,000 more than Jenkins, an October St. Pete Polls survey found Toledo trailing by about 10% among 405 likely voters.
That $770,000 race is eclipsed by only the $882,000 campaign in House District 21 as the most expensive Florida state House race in the 2020 election.
District 21, which spans Alachua, Dixie and Gilchrist counties west of Gainesville, pits Republican incumbent Rep. Chuck Clemons, who has raised $379,574, against Democratic challenger Kayser Enneking, who had raised $502,863 – the fourth most among any House candidate, most by a Democrat and the only Democrat challenger who had raised more than a Republican incumbent.
Republican Rep. David Smith, R-Winter Springs, has raised $519,005 in his House District 28 race against Democrat Pasha Baker and independent Michael Riccio.
Although Baker has raised only about $120,000, the Seminole County district is up for grabs, with GOP-registered voters holding only a 2% registration advantage over Democrats.
The three incumbent Democrats outraised by their Republican challengers are Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil, D-Maitland, by former Rep. Bob Cortes in their House District 30 rematch from 2018; Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Windermere, by challenger Bruno Portigliatti in House District 44; and Rep. Delores Hogan Johnson, D-Fort Pierce, by Dana Trabulsy in House District 84.