Both candidates for Florida House District 60 — incumbent Republican Jackie Toledo and Democrat Julie Jenkins — reported their highest fundraising periods to date spanning Sept. 19 through Oct. 2.
Toledo raked in $55,110, and Jenkins collected $48,807 — one of the most narrow gaps in fundraising the two have seen since Jenkins entered the race. In the highly-funded race, Toledo has raised a total of $464,955 and Jenkins $185,804
Jenkins saw a record number of donors this period, listing 1,889 contributors to her campaign in this period alone, overwhelmingly from individuals. Jenkins received a handful of donations from several PACs and local unions, including the local Plumbers and Pipe-fitters Union and 1199SEIU Florida.
Toledo reported 90 contributors, primarily made up of $1,000 donations from PACs and businesses, which include donors like Walmart Inc., Florida Justice PAC, Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and Comcast Co.
Both candidates saw similar spending numbers this period as they near the General Election. Toledo dished out $28,201, mostly on media advertising, and Jenkins spent $33,067 on digital ads and postage.
Toledo maintains her cash on hand lead, entering the critical stretch before the Nov. 3 election with $213,785 while Jenkins will start with $104,155 — a difference of about $109,630.
Jenkins could have a tough battle on her hands against Toledo, who has served as a popular Republican in the Legislature and who has become known for working across the aisle. During the 2019 Legislative Session, Toledo successfully brokered a texting while driving ban that made it a primary offense. This year, Toledo worked with Democrats to add LGBT protections to the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, an effort that failed despite bipartisan support.
However, the race is still a tight one, and a potential upset is not yet out of the question – Jenkins leads the incumbent Representative by 6 points in a new poll, and her high number of donors shows growing grassroots support.
A St. Pete Polls survey among 466 likely HD 60 voters showed Jenkins leading outside the margin of error 48% to 42% with 10% undecided.
It’s a remarkable shift in a district Toledo won in 2018 by 4 points and in 2016 by 14 points and where Republicans carry 37% of registered voters compared to just 33.5% for Democrats.
Toledo was first elected to HD 60 in 2016. In 2018, she was reelected with 52% of the vote, while Democratic opponent Debra Bellanti took 48% of the vote — a margin of about 3,650 votes. Jenkins is a long time community leader and advocate with deep roots in the Tampa-based district.
The district has a Republican lean — of its 128,590 voters, 48,310 are Republicans and 43,612 are Democrats. Independent voters are key in the race, with 35,201 voters registered with no party affiliation.