Democratic challenger Sanjay Patel raised $101,000 in the second quarter of his campaign for Florida’s 8th Congressional District, besting incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey‘s fundraising efforts by more than $30,000.

At the end of June, Posey, the five-term congressman from Rockledge, still possessed a significant campaign cash advantage over the newcomer candidate, with $642,000 in the bank compared with Patel’s $160,000.

Yet the positive quarter led Patel to declare momentum in a district that Republicans have owned for many years. Patel’s first-quarter report was the best by a Democrat in that district in this century, and Patel’s campaign topped that in the second quarter.

During the second quarter, Patel picked up $101,067 for his campaign, for a two-quarter total haul of $192,178. Posey picked up $67,775 in the April-June fundraising period, giving him $548,888 raised during this election cycle.

“I am humbled, honored and inspired by the over 1,000 donors who have now contributed to our efforts, and by the incredible organizations who have endorsed our campaign,” Patel stated in a news release. “Together, we will win and work together to make healthcare a human right for every American, protect our environment, secure the American Dream for working families, and ensure that every kid can get a great education from pre-K through college or trade school without a lifetime of debt.”

Patel and his wife Stacey Patel, chair of the Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee, have pushed that party toward a grassroots organizing effort since they emerged in the county party leadership three years ago. His campaign receieved more than 1,200 individual contributions in the second quarter, averaging $68 apiece, and he noted that 84 percent of the quarter’s donations were vrom Florida, and 70 percent from the district.

He also contended that 90 percent of his money raised in the second quater was from individuals, while he attributed 65 percent of Posey’s second-quarter take to political committees.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has proven that a campaign for the people can be won by the people – even against long odds and established incumbents,” Patel stated in the news release, citing the upstart progressive Democrat who won an upset primary victory over an incumbent in a New York congressional district this spring. “I hope our community will continue to support us as we move our campaign to the streets to knock on doors across the district.”

CD 8 covers the whole of Brevard and Indian River counties as well as a chunk of eastern Orange County. It voted plus-21 for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, and is currently listed as “safely Republican” by University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato‘s “Crystal Ball”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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