Mingling money, politics and legislation is nothing new in Tallahassee, but an email leaked last week provides a glimpse at just how much pressure Republican lawmakers are under to maintain their dominance in campaign fundraising.
Rep. Steve Crisafulli, who as incoming speaker for 2015-2016 oversees all Republican House races, scolded members for falling behind the pace of Democratic candidates.
“This is a trend that must be broken!” Crisafulli wrote in bold and underline before reminding Republicans that half of them had fallen short of a fundraising goal set earlier by the caucus. “Like you, I recognize fundraising is a commitment of time we would rather spend in other ways, but given the tough election year ahead, we MUST redouble our efforts so that everyone has the financial resources for victory.”
With a 75-45 margin, Republicans are clearly in charge of the House. And collectively, GOP House incumbents raised $1.5 million between July 1 and Sept. 30, or $188,000 more than they raised during the same period two years ago, the last nonelection year.
Additionally, they averaged $24,434 for the third quarter, dwarfing the $9,666 average raised by the 38 House Democrats seeking re-election.
So what has Crisafulli so concerned? The pace.
While Republicans increased their haul by a robust 13.6 percent from two years ago, House Democrats ramped up their take by more than 1,000 percent. Two years ago, these same House Democrats raised a paltry $4,133 per member during the third quarter, a fifth of what Republicans raised. Democrats still lag, but now are at about a third of what Republicans raised.