State Politics

G. Steube takes fundraising lead in House race

Greg Steube has jumped to a large fundraising lead over two Republican rivals for the District 67 seat in the Florida House.

Steube, an attorney and the son of Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube, collected almost $62,000 in contributions in the first three months of this year, more than his two opponents combined, according to reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

Robert K. McCann, a Lakewood Ranch physician and attorney, reported just more than $33,000 in contributions, and Jeremiah J. Guccione, the founder of the nonprofit Heart Gallery of Sarasota Inc., collected more than $20,300.

Guccione, however, reported the biggest bank account, thanks to a $50,000 loan from himself to his campaign, bringing his receipts to more than $70,000, records show.

The District 67 seat is currently held by Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, who cannot run for re-election in 2010 because of term limits. No Democrats have yet filed to run for the seat next year, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

District 67 is comprised of parts of Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.

Records filed with the Division of Elections show that more than 250 individuals, businesses and political action committees have contributed to Steube’s campaign. The maximum contribution under the law is $500.

Donors to Steube’s campaign include developer and former state senator Pat Neal; Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski; Bealls PAC; 12th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Larry Eger; LWR Development LLC; the Red Barn Flea Market Ltd.; and former Manatee sheriff Charlie Wells.

Steube, a Lakewood Ranch attorney, said his campaign exceeded its goal of collecting $50,000 for the first quarter of the year.

“I am honored and humbled that we raised over $60,000 in the first quarter,” Steube said in a news release. “Most importantly, almost all of the support was generated from the local area representing 261 contributors.”

McCann listed about 100 contributors, not including himself or law and medical practices, most of them physicians or other medical personnel from outside Manatee County. He also reported more than $3,200 in cash and in-kind contributions from himself or his medical and law practices to his campaign.

“My campaign is quite proud of its progress in fund-raising,” McCann said in an e-mail to the Bradenton Herald. “We have received many pledges and are growing in support — locally, statewide and nationally. We only raised money for the first quarter for a period of two months and had what I believe to be a strong showing.”

In addition to the $50,000 loan, Guccione reported making $100 in in-kind contributions to his campaign. He also listed about 60 donors, including Bradenton attorney David Miner; Bill’s Discount Center, a used furniture store in Bradenton; and Josh Smithers, head football coach at Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota.

"The campaign and the fund raising are going very well," Guccione said in an e-mail to the Herald. "I will have the funds necessary to be competitive in the race."

The only other local legislative race so far to draw more than one candidate is for House District 55, which includes slivers of Manatee and Sarasota counties. Incumbent Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, reported $6,300 in contributions. All but $1,950 of the contributions came from donors listed as working as attorneys or lobbyists or from political action committees.

His Democratic challenger, Martha Allen, of St. Petersburg, reported no campaign finance activity.

In District 68, which is being vacated by Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, only businessman and former Palmetto mayor Jim Boyd has announced. The district is comprised of neighborhoods in western Manatee County.

Boyd reported collecting almost $15,000 in contributions, and making a $10,000 personal loan to his campaign. His donors included former state senators Neal and John McKay.

In District 69, which includes parts of southern Manatee, incumbent Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, D-Sarasota, reported $10,500 in contributions — all from lobbyists, political action committees or other special interest groups.