Though he has not yet drawn the kind of massive outside campaign support backing his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. John Mica raised $400,000 in the seven weeks prior to October and had more than $1 million left to spend against Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

Murphy also raised nearly $400,000 between the Aug. 10 report and Sept. 30, when the latest reporting period closed.

Yet Murphy, a first-time candidate who did not file until late June, began her deluge of campaign spending in August and she entered October with just $167,000 in the bank, according to the latest reports, posted Monday by the Federal Election Commission.

Mica also reportedly has just spent the bulk of his money in a big TV buy, though it occurred after the Sept. 30 reporting date. That would put his cash-on-hand close to what Murphy entered the month with.

Mica, a 12-term congressman putting out the call that he’s in a real race for the CD 7 seat for the first time in decades, drew $198,000 in individual contributions and another $203,000 in political action committee money during the period. He also spent just $82,000 in the period, less than a quarter of what Murphy reported spending since Aug. 10.

During a debate sponsored and webcast Friday by WESH NEWS 2 in Orlando, Mica accused Murphy of having a very small number of local contributors, and receiving most of her money from out of state. Murphy disputed that, saying she has a lot of local contributors.

However, in the itemized report identifying contributors, fewer than 50 of those who donated to her campaign since Aug. 10 actually live in CD 7, and they combined to contribute about $35,000. That’s about 20 percent of the identified contributions in her latest report. Much of the rest of her donations came from out of state, though there also were significant amounts of money that came from Fort Lauderdale, Naples, and other places in Florida.

That does not include labor union PAC money, which in many cases represents money from local union members.

Mica, on the other hand, drew hundreds of contributions from people within his district, accounting for most of the individual contributions he received.

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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