Monday, July 30, 2012

Report: Rep. Greg Steube works for law firm that lobbied Florida Legislature

State Rep. Greg Steube, R-Parrish, works for a law firm that lobbied the Florida Legislature during the 2012 session, according to a report released Monday.

Steube, who is running for re-election, was one of 10 lawmakers cited for such possible conflicts of interest in a report issued by Tallahassee-based Integrity Florida.

Steube works in the Sarasota offices of Becker and Poliakoff. On its website, the firm writes that "many of our lawyers and lobbyists have significant first-hand working knowledge of government practices and procedures."

Steube is not listed as one of the firm's lobbyists but instead work's in the firm's business litigation group.

The Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reports:
Legislators and top state officials accepted at least $101,449 in gifts from non-lobbyists so far in 2012, according to a report released Monday by Tallahassee-based Integrity Florida. 
Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development organization, for example, paid $12,724 for Lieutenant Gov. Jennifer Carrolls' trade mission to South Africa while The Aspen Institute, the Republican Attorney General Association and other groups have financed $8,860 in travel for Attorney General Pam Bondi. 
The gifts do not violate the state's controversial 2005 gift ban because they came from people or organizations that are not registered lobbyists. 
"It's okay for people to give gifts to each other...but we'd all like to have a gift to Taiwan," said Dan Krassner, executive director of Integrity Florida. "Would they get these gifts if they weren't lawmakers?" 
The report also named at least 10 lawmakers who worked for law firms that lobbied during the 2012 legislative session. 
They are: Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Coral Gables, Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, Rep. Jose Diaz, R-Miami, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, Rep. Greg Steube, R-Parrish. 
Rep. Matt Gaetz said he, and some of the other legislators, worked for the firms previous to their time in public office and avoided contact with their firms' lobbyists. 
Out of the 160-member Legislature, only 12 lawmakers disclosed conflicts, a number that seems very low considering that almost all lawmakers have careers outside the Legislature, Krassner said.
Read the whole thing here.

Who paid to link Joe McClash with Barack Obama?

A campaign mailer that arrived in local mailboxes over the weekend links Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash with the "liberal views" of Barack Obama, complete with a sepia-toned photo illustration of the McClash next to the president.

A disclaimer says the mailer, which slams McClash for positions taken by his online newspaper, the Bradenton Times, is a "Paid Electioneering Communication paid for by Take Back Our Government.," without say what or who that exactly is.

A few keystrokes on the Internet reveals some answers.

The Florida Division of Elections lists Take Back Our Government, which has mailed out several anti-McClash advertisements, as a Sarasota-based "electioneering campaign organization" chaired by Robert Waechter, a member of the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority.

Between May 29 and July 20, Take Back Our Government spent a total of  $17,869.48 of the $27,000 in contributions it has received from a single donor -- Florida West Coast Holdings, LLC, with a listed address of 2212 58th Ave. E., Bradenton.

That address is shared by several development companies, including Medallion Home, whose president, Carlos Beruff, is a frequent campaign contributor and who alongside Waechhter, sits on the airport board.

Other firms that use the same address have donated a total of at least $19,500 to the campaign of McClash's opponent in the Aug. 14 Republican primary, Betsy Benac. That amounts to about 12 percent of the more than $78,000 she had raised as of July 20, according to reports filed with Manatee County elections office.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Keith Fitzgerald wants Congress to force release of members' tax returns

Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald has repeatedly -- and unsuccessfully -- chided U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan to release copies of his income tax returns.

Fitzgerald, who has cited Buchanan's refusal to release his returns as part of a pattern of questionable behavior by the congressman, is now expanding his call by offering a proposal for "transparency" that would have Congress require both its members and candidates for office to release information about their income, taxes paid, etc. once they announce they are running for election or re-election.

"At a time when trust in Congress is at an all-time low, greater transparency and disclosure is needed from all candidates and elected officials. This requirement is a tradition in the Florida legislature and one that Congress should adopt today," Fitzgerald said in a news release. "This is one of many small steps that are needed to regain the public's trust and confidence in our political institutions."

Members of the Florida Legislature and candidates are required to file financial disclosure forms in which they list their assets, liabilities and income. In place of itemizing income, filers have the option of attaching their most recent income tax return.

Fitzgerald released his tax returns in April.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Manatee teachers union endorses Dave 'Watchdog' Miner, Linda Schaich for school board

The Manatee County teachers union has endorsed Dave "Watchdog" Miner and Linda Schaich for seats on the county school board.

On its website, the Manatee Education Association's political arm, MEA/TIGER, lists its specific reasons for supporting each candidate in the Aug. 14 elections.

Miner is running against three other candidates -- including two teachers -- for the District 2 seat now held by Harry Kinnan. Among other reasons, the union says Miner is the best choice because of his long involvement in education issues, his opposition to the FCAT and other high-stakes testing and his experience in challenging the school board and administration.

The other District 2 candidates are William Chaltis, Robert Moates and Paul Sharff.

In District 4, Schaich is challenging incumbent Bob Gause. The MEA said it endorsed Schaich because of her background in finance, her record of challenging the school board and administration and "tenacity" in pursuing questions about school spending.

For a detailed look at the union's explanation of its endorsements, go here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vern Buchanan releases first television ad as Keith Fitzgerald again calls for him to release tax returns

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan on Thursday released the first television ad of his re-election campaign, touting his "bullishness" about Florida and the United States.

Featuring scenes of Buchanan on Main Street in downtown Sarasota, the congressman is using the ad to call on the federal government to be more responsive to the needs of small business "because they create the jobs in America."

“We’ve got to find a way to work together and do what’s best for Americans and America -- helping people on Main Street be more successful,” Buchanan says in the 30-second commercial.

Buchanan faces Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald in the Nov. 6 general election in the newly drawn 16th Congressional District, which is comprised largely of Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Republicans this week released results of a poll showing Buchanan with a 22-percentage-point lead among likely voters surveyed last weekend. Fitzgerald's camp dismissed the poll as "bogus."

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald this week renewed his call for Buchanan to release copies of his income tax returns.

"Representative Buchanan owes his constituents complete honesty and transparency," said Fitzgerald, noting that Rep. Pete Session, R-Texas, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said it was "fair game" for voters to ask about a candidate's tax returns.

As a McClatchy Newspapers story notes, most members of Congress have declined to release their tax returns.

You can watch Buchanan's ad here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vern Buchanan poll shows him with big lead over Keith Fitzgerald

A new poll by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's re-election campaign shows him with a 22-percentage-point lead over Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald for the local seat in Congress.

A memo released by Buchanan's pollster, Public Opinion Strategies, concludes that Buchanan is "well positioned" to win re-election from a newly redrawn 16th Congressional District.

The poll showed 54 percent of likely voters supporting Buchanan, and 32 percent supporting Fitzgerald. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

Fitzgerald's campaign dismissed the significance of the poll, while again restating  that Buchanan remains under investigation for his fund-raising and business practices.

"Congressman Vern Buchanan is under investigation by a Tampa grand jury, the IRS, the FBI, Justice Department, the Office of House Ethics, and CNN. Of course he released a bogus poll," said Adam Scott, Fitzgerald's campaign manager.

(The Federal Elections Commission and House Ethics Committee ended probes of Buchanan without taking action against him. The other investigations, including a separate one by the Ethics Committee, are pending.)

The survey results belie the fact that when it comes to raising money for his campaign, Fitzgerald remains competitive.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed had a "favorable" view of Buchanan, R-Sarasota, versus 33 percent "unfavorable."

Only 45 percent of respondents recognized Fitzgerald's name, a point amplified by the finding that only 16 percent viewed him favorably and 7 percent viewed him unfavorably, according to the memo.

Forty-two percent of respondents said they "definitely" will vote for Buchanan, while only 21 percent expressed an identical intensity for Fitzgerald, according to the poll.

The survey of 400 likely voters was conducted July 15-16 in the 16th District, which is largely comprised of Sarasota and Manatee counties.

State attorney race renews memories of brutal Bradenton murder

The Feb. 14, 2007, slaying of Bradenton retiree Daniel Ramsey was particularly heinous, memories of which were stirred up this week with the release of a political television ad in the race to be 12th Judicial District State Attorney.

As Ramsey and his wife Roberta were returning from a Valentine's Day lunch, they confronted a burglar emerging from their home. As Daniel Ramsey, who had armed himself with a knife, chased the suspect, later identified as Michael Walker, his accomplice, Anthony Lewis, came outside.

When Ramsey turned his attention to Lewis, the burglar pulled a gun he had taken from the Ramseys' nightstand and shot him to death.

After almost two years of legal proceedings, Walker and Lewis were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

The case drew renewed attention this week with state attorney candidate Peter Lombardo's release of an ad featuring an interview with Roberta Ramsey in which she blames Lombardo's opponent, longtime Assistant State Attorney Ed Brodsky for her husband's death.

As the ad, and supporting documents attached to an online version of the ad, explain, Walker in 2006 had been charged with robbing a pizza deliveryman. However, the state attorney's office later declined to prosecute the case, saying it had been unable to locate the victim for further investigation. The decision was explained in a memo co-signed by Brodsky.

If Walker had been in jail, maybe Daniel Ramsey would have enjoyed more Valentine's Days with his wife.

"Ed Brodsky was responsible for my husband's death," Roberta Ramsey says in the ad.

Is this fair game?

Brodsky has been a senior prosecutor in the state's attorney's office for several years, and one way you hold that office -- which, as this episode reminds us, is headed by an elected official -- is to examine how it handles criminal cases brought to it by local law enforcement.

Brodsky explained that the victim could not be located, and also raised questions about how Lombardo paid for the ad. But his response could show Brodsky's concerns about how it might influence voters in the Aug. 14 Republican primary.

But is it OK to attack Brodsky's and the state attorney's office's performance if in doing, it takes advantage of a widow's pain? Isn't there another way to make the point without the risk of appearing like you are exploiting a tragedy?

Obviously, Lombardo took the risk.

As a result, maybe voters will be able to discern about Brodsky's ability to lead, and Lombardo's own character and qualifications for the office.


Read the Bradenton Herald story about the ad, and Brodsky's response, here.

Watch the ad and read the related documents, here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Manatee Commissioner Larry Bustle reports more than $95,000 in contributions

Manatee County Commissioner Larry Bustle has raised more than $95,000, while his Republican challenger in next month's primary has reported no financial activity by his campaign.

Of the amount Bustle has raised for his re-election effort, only $850 came in during the three-month period that ended July 6, according to the Manatee County Elections Office.

Bustle has spent more than $12,350 on his campaign, leaving him with more than $82,000 heading into the final month of his primary campaign against Nathaniel Leonard, who has not reported any contributions or expenses, and a possible general election campaign against Democrat Corie Holmes.

As of July 6, Holmes had raised almost $9,300 on his campaign, and spent more than $3,150, according to the elections office.

Retail group endorses Bill Galvano, Jim Boyd, Greg Steube

The Florida Retail Federation on Tuesday endorsed candidates in state legislative races, including three hopefuls running to represent Manatee County in Tallahassee.

Those endorsed include former Rep. Bill Galvano, who is running for the state Senate in District 26; and Reps. Jim Boyd and Greg Steube, who are running for re-election in House Districts 71 and 73, respectively.

“These individuals will be a strong voice for Florida’s retailers and the citizens of our state, and we are proud to endorse them,” said Florida retail Federation Executive Vice President Randy Miller. “Our mission is to promote legislative policies that will have a positive impact on the retail industry, one of Florida’s top job creating industries. Voters can be confident that these candidates will help our state economy grow and create more jobs for the people of Florida.”

Vanessa Baugh leads John Colon in fund-raising in Manatee District 5

Businesswoman Vanessa Baugh holds a substantial fund-raising lead over investment adviser John Colon in the race for Republican nomination for the District 5 seat on the Manatee County Commission.

As of July 6, Baugh had raised $51,800, and spent almost $21,800. Colon had raised more than $36,100 and spent almost $14,600, according to reports filed with the Manatee elections office.

A caveat to Baugh's advantage: She has been running for the seat and raising money since the spring of 2011, when she thought she would be challenging incumbent Commissioner Donna Hayes, who later dropped out of the race. Colon first started raising money in March of this year, according to reports filed with the elections office.

The winner of the Aug. 14 GOP primary, will face the winner of a Democratic Party contest between former Bradenton City Council member James T. Golden and U.S. Navy veteran Frank Archino.

Archino holds a slight fund-raising lead in that race, raising a total of $5,610 and spending almost an identical amount. Golden, who in 2010 unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Vern Buchanan for Congress, has raised $5,025 and spent more than $1,560, according to reports.

For a detailed look at the reports, including the names of donors, go here.

Challenger Betsy Benac holds big money lead over Manatee Commissioner Joe McClash

Betsy Benac holds a big fund-raising lead over long-time Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash heading into next month's Republican primary.

Benac, a former county planner who now works for the Benderson development company, has raised almost $68,600 in contributions, including more than $20,500 in the three-month period that ended July 6, according to reports filed with the Manatee elections office.

Benac, who is challenging McClash for the at-large District 7 seat on the commission, had spent more than $23,900, leaving her with almost $35,000 in the bank for the final month of the campaign.

Benac's amounts dwarf those reported by McClash.

In the second quarter, McClash reported $5,075 in contributions, bringing his total haul to $6,575. He has spent a total $1,629.78, according to the elections office.

The winner of the primary will face two write-in candidates, Thomas Dell and Scot Findlay, the Nov. 6 general election. Neither has filed reports of contributions and expenditures, according to the elections office.

For a detailed look at the candidates' latest reports, including the names of donors, go here.

Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube holds on to big fund-raising lead

Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube took in less than $2,000 in political contributions for his re-election during the second quarter of 2012, but he still had almost $100,000 in the bank heading into the Aug. 14 vote, according to reports filed with the Manatee elections office.

That's compared to challenger William Waldron, who had about $500 in the bank.

Waldron reported taking in more than $8,200 -- including an $8,000 loan from himself. But he also reported spending more than $8,600. Counting previously reported amounts, Waldon's political account held a balance of  $518.24.

As of July 6, Steube had spent more than $20,300 on his re-election effort.

Steube has a raised a total of $118,100. Among all candidates for local offices in Manatee, only state Sen. Mike Bennett, who is running for elections supervisor, has raised more, $121,800. (Incidentally, Steube has endorsed one of Bennett's rivals, Edward A. Bailey, for the GOP nomination for elections supervisor)

The sheriff's race will be decided Aug. 14 because Steube and Waldron, both Republicans, are the only candidates in the race. All registered voters can cast ballots in the race.

For a detailed look at the candidates' latest finance reports, including the names of donors, go here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Buchanan's campaign filings show payments to lawyers

A review of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's campaign finance reports shows that he has paid attorneys representing him in various investigations of his conduct and related lawsuits at least $145,000 this year.

Most of that, $121,000, went to the Washington, D.C., law firm of Patton Boggs, which has represented him during investigations by the Federal Elections Commission, House Ethics Committee and the U.S. Department of Justice. (The FEC closed its investigation of Buchanan's fund-raising without taking action against them, and the Ethics Committee closed its review of whether Buchanan lied on financial disclosure reports. A separate Ethics Committee probe and the Justice Department investigation are still pending.)

Also, more than $24,600 has been paid this year to the Orlando office of Holland and Knight, which is representing Buchanan in several lawsuits.

The $145,000 in legal bills represents about 9.5 percent of Buchanan's spending on his re-election campaign, as of June 30.

Bob Gause holds fund-raising lead in Manatee school board race

Manatee School Board member Bob Gause holds an almost 2-to-1 fund-raising lead over challenger Linda Schaich, but Schaich may have stronger momentum heading into the Aug. 14 primary.

Gause has raised a total of $27,625. That includes $2,250 raised between April 1 and July 6, the period covered by the most recent filings.

In that same three-month period, Schaich collected more than $10,700 in contributions -- including a $5,200 loan from herself to her campaign -- bringing her total haul so far to more than $15,000.

On the spending side, the candidates are closer. As of July 6, Gause had spent more than $4,900, and Schaich had spent just under $4,100.

For a detailed look at the candidates' reports, including list of donors, go here.

Moates holds fund-raising lead in crowded Manatee school board race

Heading into the final month of the campaign, Robert Moates holds a lead in fund-raising in the race for the District 2 seat on the Manatee County School Board, according to reports filed with the Manatee elections office.

From April 1 to July 6, Moates,a teacher at Lakewood Ranch High School, collected $5,625 contributions, bringing his total take so far to more than $20,800. He has spent more than $14,000 on his campaign

Attorney Dave "Watchdog" Miner reported $20,120 in contributions to his campaign. But of that amount, $14,300 were listed either as loans or in-kind contributions from himself to his campaign. Miner has spent more than $7,000 on his campaign.

Trailing are Palmetto High School teacher William S. Chaltis, who has reported $2,767 in contributions. All but $220 of that has come from Chaltis' own pocket.

Also self-financing his campaign so far is businessman Paul Sharff, who reported loaning his campaign $1,550. He has not received any campaign contributions, according to the elections office.

The primary is Aug. 14. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face off in the Nov. 6 general election.

District 2 incumbent Harry Kinnan is not running for re-election.

Mike Bennett holds huge fund-raising lead in Manatee elections supervisor race

The economic downturn may have taken a big bite out of state Sen. Mike Bennett's personal wealth, but it appears not to have affected his political fund-raising prowess as he campaigns to be the next Manatee County supervisor of elections.

A newly filed report that Bennett raised $101,300 in contributions between April 1 and July 6. Throw in the $20,500 -- including $20,000 from Bennett himself -- he reported earlier this year, and Bennett has raised a total of $121,800. That's more than twice what the other five candidates in the race have raised, combined.

As of July 6, Bennett reported spending almost $18,900, leaving him with more than $100,000 heading into the final month of the campaign for the Republican nomination for elections supervisor, according to reports filed with the elections office. The primary is Aug. 14.

Among Bennett's GOP opponents, Edward A. Bailey, former president of the local NAACP, has reported raising a total of $32,788, including more than $21,000 in the second quarter. Former county commissioner Jane von Hahmann has raised $9,330; and Richard Bedford, a member of the county planning commission, has raised $7,150.

Democrat Charles N. Williams reported raising a total of $3,759; and write-in candidate Rodney "Smokey" Smithley reported $2,100 in contributions.

Financially, Vern Buchanan remains far ahead, but Keith Fitzgerald is still in the game

When the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Keith Fitzgerald as one of its key candidates in its effort to re-take control of the House of Representatives, the onus was put on the candidate to show he was worthy of such a status -- and all the support from national Democrats that would come with it -- by among other things, remaining competitive financially with the man he was trying to knock off, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.

With less than four months before election day, Fitzgerald is still in the game, which is made clear when you examine the most recent finance reports filed by the respective campaigns.

Buchanan still holds a large bottom-line advantage -- more than $1.52 million in cash on hand, as of June 30, compared to Fitzgerald's $651,000 -- but the reports show that least among individuals willing to write checks, Fitzgerald is gaining ground.

Between April 1 and April 30, Fitzgerald received $296,434 from individual donors, compared to $245,094 going to Buchanan.

But for the entire campaign, Buchanan still holds an edge, raising more than $888,000 from individual donors, compared to almost $719,000 for Fitzgerald, who did not enter the race until October.

Where Buchanan remains far ahead is in contributions from political action and other similar committees. He has collected more than $866,000 from such groups, compared to about $178,000 for Fitzgerald.

Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, also has loaned his campaign $250,000, and has demonstrated he is willing to give more, depending on how much of the $4 million in television ad time his campaign has reserved it will actually use.

The DCCC has reserved $2.5 million in ad time in the Tampa Bay market, much of which will presumably be spent on behalf of Fitzgerald.

But that support comes with conditions that at least on the financial level, Fitzgerald may have already met.

To review the latest Federal Election Commission filings, go here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bill Galvano raises another $40,000 for his Florida Senate race

Former state Rep. Bill Galvano, who up to a month ago was unopposed in his bid for a seat in the Florida Senate, collected more than $40,000 in contributions during the second quarter of 2012, according to records filed with the Florida Division Election.

Between April 1 and July 6, donors contributed a total of $40,110, which brings the total raised since Galvano, a Republican attorney from Bradenton, announced his candidacy in June 2009, to more than $418,000.

Reflecting the fact that he did pick up a Democratic opponent -- Lake Placid attorney Paula House -- on the eve of the qualifying deadline last month, Galvano has been busy financing his campaign for the District 26 seat, spending $68,000 in the second quarter -- the most in any three-month period since he entered the race.

Still, Galvano is flush with cash. As of June 30, he had more than $185,000 cash on hand, according to his filings.

As of Friday afternoon, any filings by House were not available on the Division of Elections website. The deadline for filing is today.

For a detailed look at Galvano's campaign finance reports, go here.

State Rep. Jim Boyd adds $29,000 to campaign warchest

State. Rep. Jim Boyd raised more than $29,000 in contributions during the second quarter of 2012, bringing his fund-raising total for his re-election campaign to $128,111, according to a campaign finance report filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

After taking into account the $28,542.60 he has spent as of July 6, Boyd, R-Bradenton, had just under $100,000 in the bank -- substantially more than what's in the warchest for Democratic challenger Adam Tebrugge.

Tebrugge, a Bradenton attorney, has raised almost $17,000 in contributions, and spent more than $5,500, according to his report.

The latest filings cover campaigns' financial activity between April 1 and July 6.

To review the reports, which include the names of donors, go here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Keith Fitzgerald reports raising $380,000 in second quarter for race against Rep. Vern Buchanan

Keith Fitzgerald, the Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, for the local seat in Congress, said Thursday he raised more than $380,000 in contributions during the second quarter of 2012. That brings the total haul since Fitzgerald entered the race in October to about $900,000.

A breakdown of Fitzgerald's finance activity was not yet available on the Federal Elections Commission website. But Fitzgerald said in a news release that the amount raised between April 1 and June 30 was 31 percent more than collected during the first three months of the year. Also, Fitzgerald said he had received contributions from 2,275 donors, 51 percent more than between Jan. 1 and March 31.

Buchanan's latest report also wasn't available on the FEC website.

In his first quarter report, Buchanan reported raising $1.762 million -- including a $250,000 loan from himself to his campaign.

As of March 31, Buchanan said he had almost $1.5 million in cash on hand versus the more than $422,000 reported by Fitzgerald.

Despite that gap, Fitzgerald said the trends show that his campaign is gaining momentum.

"This level of support for our campaign is beyond anything we ever expected," Fitzgerald said in a news release. "When we started, very few gave us a chance against a millionaire Washington incumbent.."

Fitzgerald indicated he believes his campaign has prospered at least in part because Buchanan's legal and political difficulties related to multiple investigations of his business and fund-raising practices and whether he had withheld information from his personal financial disclosure reports. Probes by the FEC and House Ethics Committee closed with no action taken against the congressman, but other investigations are pending.

"Our fundraising is a clear sign that people are tired of years of scandal and the ongoing investigations facing Congressman Vern Buchanan," Fitzgerald said.

Several national political observers have rated the Buchanan-Fitzgerald race as increasingly competitive, while still giving Buchanan the edge.

Adam Tebrugge raises almost $17,000 in race against Rep. Jim Boyd (UPDATED)

Adam Tebrugge, who is challenging state. Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives, raised almost $17,000 during the three-month period that ended July 6, according a campaign finance report filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

He remains far behind Boyd in fund-raising, but in a news release Tebrugge, a Democrat, noted that he has restricted himself to only collecting contributions of a $100 or left. Under state law, donors can contribute up to $500 per candidate per election.

“This campaign is powered by people, not by special interests,” Tebrugge, a former assistant public defender and Bradenton attorney, said in a news release. “While the insurance companies and phosphate interests are lining up to support Jim Boyd, my contributions come from homeowners, retirees and working people like you and me.”

Tebrugge also has loaned his campaign $2,500, according to his filing.

Boyd's report covering activity from April 1 to July 6 was not yet available on the Division of Elections website -- the report isn't due until Friday. But in the filing covering the first three months of the year, Boyd reported he had raised more than $99,000 for his re-election campaign. After deducting the more than $9,200 he had spent, Boyd had almost $90,000 in the bank.

As of July 6, Tebrugge had spent more than $5,500, according to his report.

Boyd and Tebrugge are the only candidates for their respective parties for the newly drawn District 71, so they will not face each other on the ballot until the Nov. 6 general election.

In another local House race, Rep. Greg Steube reported raising more than $7,700 in the second quarter, bringing his total take to more than $85,000. He has spent more than $7,700 on his re-election effort.

Bob McCann, a write-in candidate challenging Steube in District 73, reported that as of July 6, he had raised $3,105 and spent more than $6,900.

To read the reports for yourself, go here.

Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston holds big fund-raising lead over 2 challengers

Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston has jumped to a big fund-raising lead over two challengers in the Nov. 6 election.

Poston, the mayor since 2000, collected a total of $32,285 in cash and in-kind contributions between April 1 and June 30, according to records filed with the Manatee County elections office.

That's enough to give Poston, who received numerous donations from developers and other business interests, an almost 3-to-1 edge over the closest challenger, Richard O'Brien, who reporting raising a total of more than $11,400.

Among those supporting O'Brien, the chairman of the Manatee County Democratic Party, are several local party activists and former mayor Bill Evers.

Evers, whom Poston ousted in 1999 and then beat again in 2003 and 2007, donated $500 to O'Brien's campaign, according to records.

The third candidate in the race, City Council member Marianne Barnebey, reported receiving $2,000, the form of a loan from her to to her campaign.

On the spending side, the candidates are a bit closer.

Poston reported spending more than $3,400 between April 1 and June 30; O'Brien, more than $2,200; and Barnebey, $568.91 -- the amount each candidate had to pay for a spot on the ballot.

For a detailed look at the candidates' filings, go here.