BY BUDDY NEVINS
County Commissioner Chip LaMarca’s re-election fund raising has been lagging.
Chip LaMarca: Should be doing better
Trying to win a second term, LaMarca collected $20,650 from 53 contributors so far, according to financial records ending June 30.
It was former County Commissioner Ken Keechl’s anticipated entrance into the race that kept a brake on LaMarca’s fund raising. Some were waiting to donate to Keechl.
Now Keechl has jumped into the race. He opened a campaign account on July 1, after the books closed on the second quarter financial reports. So the next financial report should give a clearer picture of the ability of both candidates to raise money.
LaMarca is the commission’s only Republican. Keechl is a Democrat.
In this case, party labels don’t mean anything. It’s all about business to the lobbyists who supply much of the campaign cash.
The only thing lobbyists are interested in is winning access through their donations to county commissioners after the election. Thus, lobbyists’ donations are awarded on a non-partisan basis. They will support anyone they believe will win.
It is easy to compare LaMarca’s fund raising to another incumbent county commissioner running for re-election. Barbara Sharief raised $52,905 in the same second quarter – 2 ½ times more than LaMarca raised.
In other commission races, sucking up a lot of money is the South Broward contest between former Hollywood Commissioner Beam Furr and state Rep. Joe Gibbons. This is an open seat because the incumbent, Commissioner Sue Gunzburger, is term limited.
Furr raised $58,501 — some of it bought in by Gunzburger, who is supporting him.
Gibbons has raised $31,850, with money coming from his Tallahassee contacts.
But Gibbons has spent almost nothing on his campaign, while Furr has used $12,531 already.
Back to LaMarca. My take:
LaMarca needs to step up his fund raising so that he is not out-raised by Keechl in the third quarter report due in early September. Lagging behind in fund raising could be disastrous to an incumbent like LaMarca.