Republican Dean Asher’s January campaign finance report is in, but the Orlando Realtor’s numbers flatlined compared to former Democratic Rep. Mike Clelland’s first-month haul in the Senate District 13 race.
Asher responded to Clelland’s $210,000 January with just $7,050 in contributions, which were offset by $3,700 in expenditures. His political committee, Allegiant Friends for Florida, opened the year with a goose egg.
Asher’s campaign started with a bang back in 2014, with a string of solid five-figure months and some significant donations to his committee from real estate industry groups. The last few months have been slow, though, with just over $15,000 raised since October.
The first-time candidate still holds the finance lead overall. To date, Asher has brought in $185,000 through his campaign and $199,000 through his PAC and has an on-hand total of $352,122 for both accounts. That figure beats Clelland’s total handily, but that lead could dissipate if Clelland’s employer, Orlando mega-lawyer John Morgan, decides to get involved.
Clelland’s haul was certainly a statement for the other two Democrats in the race, former Democratic Rep. Linda Stewart and former Orange County School Board member Rick Roach, and for a handful of possible candidates taking the wait and see approach. Roach entered the race in May 2014 and currently has about $28,500 on hand. Stewart, who filed in January, hasn’t filed her first report yet.
District 13 looks to be one of the easier flips for Democrats in the 2016 cycle. Maps approved by Florida courts at the end of 2015 drew in a lot of minority voters, erasing the GOP’s 10,000-person advantage in voter registrations and handing Dems an advantage of their own.
According to statistics included in the map plan, the redrawn SD 13 delivered 10-point victories to President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and was carried by Alex Sink 54-to-46 in her 2010 campaign against Gov. Rick Scott.
If those numbers hold true for 2016, SD 13 may turn into a money pit for Asher, or any Republican looking to succeed Gardiner.