Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Races See Final Flood of Cash

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Races See Final Flood of Cash

Article excerpt

One candidate dipped into his own savings while the other collected big checks from lobbying groups as cash continues to pour into the hotly-contested race for a state House seat representing the Venice and North Port area.

At least $130,455 flowed into the House District 74 primary contest between Republicans Richard DeNapoli and Julio Gonzalez in the last two weeks, and likely much more when outside spending by political action committees is factored in.

The race is by far the most expensive in Sarasota County this election cycle, but candidates for the County Commission and School Board also continued to raise significant amounts of cash in the final stretch before Tuesday's primary.

The latest campaign finance report -- the last before the primary -- submitted Friday by Gonzalez shows a $32,980 boost to his campaign account since Aug. 9, bringing the total raised to $315,260.

DeNapoli's campaign had not filed the report by early Friday evening, but the candidate said he chipped in another $90,000 of his own money and raised $7,475 from donors, bringing his overall tally to $360,114.

"I believe in myself and I'm happy to invest in myself," DeNapoli said, adding that his polling shows a tight race but he is optimistic about his chances.

Most of what Gonzalez, an orthopedic surgeon, raised in recent weeks came in the form of $1,000 maximum contributions from lobbying organizations, especially medical groups. Donors include a political committee representing anesthesiologists, multiple physical therapy centers, Publix Super Markets and Disney.

Gonzalez also has benefited from significant outside spending by groups such as the Florida Medical Association. He did not return a telephone message Friday.

The $90,000 DeNapoli, a financial adviser, contributed to his own campaign recently is in addition to another $150,000 he chipped in last year. …

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