It’s looking more and more like state Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, is going to avoid a major challenge from Republican personal-injury lawyer Will McBride for a new state Senate seat in Central Florida.
Soto far outraised McBride during the latest fundraising period, collecting $60,000 to McBride’s $14,500. More significantly, neither the deep-pocketed McBride, who has a net worth of $12.5 million, nor the deeper-pocketed Republican Party of Florida put any more money into McBride’s campaign.
McBride loaned himself $205,000 at the start of his campaign and initially suggested he was willing to spend even more. It was that potential to self-fund that made him a strong challenger for Senate District 14, which takes in predominantly Hispanic areas in Orange, Osceola and Polk counties and has far more Democratic voters than Republicans.
Soto, meanwhile, continues to stitch together an unlikely fundraising coalition of traditionally Republican-leaning business interests such as Walt Disney World (which gave him $4,500 in the latest period) and Democratic-leaning interests like Service Employees International Union affiliates (which gave him $2,000). The business lobby has lined up behind Soto in large part because McBride is a trial lawyer.