A month after he was out-raised threefold by his leading challenger, Republican Sen. Keith Perry of Gainesville bounced back and expanded his cash-on-hand lead.
The first-term senator added $58,250 in May, including $47,250 through his campaign account and $11,000 in receipts for his committee, Building a Prosperous Florida.
That haul brought him past the $500,000 mark in total fundraising 18 months after filing for re-election to Alachua County-based Senate District 8.
The North Central Florida roofer now has $411,000 in the bank for his 2018 effort, putting him $105,000 ahead of leading Democratic candidate Kayser Enneking, who entered June with about $306,000 on hand.
The Gainesville physician’s May reports included $30,555 in campaign money and another $9,501 for her committee, Florida Knows Excellence. She’s raised $372,000 since entering the race nine months ago.
Perry’s campaign report lists 124 contributions, including more than two dozen checks for the maximum allowable donation of $1,000.
More than a quarter of the campaign contributions came in on May 24, when Perry held a campaign kickoff fundraiser in Gainesville with Senate President Joe Negron, Senate President Designate Bill Galvano and Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson making the host committee.
Most of the campaign contributions came from within SD 8, which covers all of Alachua and Putnam counties as well as the norther half of Marion County. That’s a notable change of pace from his recent reports, one of which featured no in-district donors.
Health insurer Florida Blue topped the committee report with a pair of $5,000 checks. The only donor on the report was a political committee tied to Sysco, which chipped in $1,000.
Enneking’s campaign report showed 119 contributions, including max checks from some of her possible future colleagues.
Showing up in May were committees tied to Democratic Sens. Lori Berman, Lauren Book and Perry Thurston. Also notable were checks from Gainesville developer Ken McGurn and a committee chaired by Coral Gables billionaire Mike Fernandez, who was until recently a major Republican donor. Most of the rest of Enneking’s campaign report came in via small dollar donors chipping in $100 or less.
The committee report was topped by Crestview physician Michael Gilmore, who gave $3,000. Further down the list was a $1,00 check from Gainesville law firm Avera & Smith. Named partner Rod Smith was the 2016 Democratic nominee in SD 8. He is also a former state Senator and former chair of the Florida Democratic Party.
Before she can go head-to-head with Perry in November, Enneking has to win an Aug. 28 primary against fellow Gainesville resident Olysha Magruder. She reported about $2,600 in new money in her May report and also kicked in a $1,000 loan. She started June with a little over $9,000 on hand.
SD 8 is one of a handful of districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the Senate map was redrawn ahead of the 2016 elections. Despite Democrats holding a 9-point advantage in voter registrations, Perry ended up defeating Smith by 4 points on Election Day. SD 8 also voted in favor of Donald Trump, though only by two tenths of a point.