Former Circuit Court Judge Robert Doyel upped his commitment and his state Senate campaign fund in February, in his Democratic bid to unseat Republican state Sen. Kelli Stargel in Florida Senate District 22.

Doyel, of Winter Haven, a retired judge from Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit, reported donating $5,000 to his campaign, helping it bring in $17,677 in cash and another $700 in in-kind services in February. It was the second-consecutive month he has made a major donation to his campaign, and the first month he’s been able to clear more than $10,000 in outside contributions. Doyel contributed $10,000 in January. That’s in addition to $7,500 he lent to his campaign last summer at the start.

At least financially, the self-donations have fueled and sparked his campaign into something approaching a competitive position against Stargel, who was not allowed to do any fundraising in February because the Florida Senate was in session. In addition to his own donation, Doyel brought in more than 60 other donations in February. With the $31,000 raised over the past two months, Doyel’s campaign completed February with about $39,000 left in cash. Stargel, of Lakeland, spent a little campaign money in February and entered March with about $112,000 cash left.

SD 22 covers much of northern Polk County and part of southern Lake County.

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 Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused.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

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