These are my professional notes and research on the 2014 Florida State House District 30 Race. Dated From most recent developments working back.
7-11-14: There was a candidate forum at Tiger Bay today with these two candidates participating and KCD in attendance. Tiger Bay has an uncertain media policy so, I could not cover.
7-3-14: Cortes had a plane flying over Red, Hot, and Boom, and had staff working the crowd. Sturgill had sign presence but I couldn’t spot any of his people.
6-27-14: Former House 49 Candidate Jesse Phillips has joined Bob Cortes’ campaign. Story HERE
6-26-14: Cortes won his 3rd straight straw poll last night at the Seminole County Republican Executive Committee Hob Nob. I actually thought that might have been Sturgill’s room counting his supporters that might have gone, but that wasn’t the case.
6-25-14; Cortes won the East Side Hob Nob Straw Poll last night. You can read that HERE.
6-22-14: I preview this race with the final field. You can read that HERE
6-20-14: The field is set it will be Sturgill vs Cortes in the GOP Primary with KCD waiting in the general.
6-17-14: Cortes won the first straw poll of the season at the SCYR Hob Nob. Story HERE
5-23-14: Seminole County Tax Collector Ray Valdes endorses Cortes. Read about it HERE.
5-22-14: Cortes scheduled a fundraiser for next week. You can read about it HERE.
5-21-14: Longwood City Commissioner Brian Sackett endorsed Sturgill. I didn’t get a release so I couldn’t write about it.
5-19-14: Cortes qualified by petition. Write-up HERE
5-13-14: Regulations prevented KCD from fundraising in April. She continued her frugal ways spending only $1700. She’s raised 112K for the campaign with about 95K on hand.
5-13-14: Cortes raised $4110 with the donations from his colleagues in the towing industry, retirees and other individuals making contributions. He spent $1328. Mostly on postage.
5-13-14: Sturgill raised $2775. Notable donors include the CEO of Fairwinds. He spent $3385. Mostly on Media and Consulting. He’s raised about 58.1K for the campaign and has about 34K on hand.
5-7-14; Bob Cortes is now the Mayor of Longwood. The first Hispanic Mayor in Seminole County. I did a release about it HERE
5-6-14: Sturgill has been endorsed by Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett. I didn’t get a release so I couldn’t write about it. Now it’s stale.
4-24-14: Sturgill was apparently endorsed by Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley. I didn’t get a release, so I couldn’t write about it. Now it’s stale.
4-11-14: Sturgill had a solid March with 8.4K raised. He only spent $1800. For the campaign he’s raised 55.4K and has about 34K on hand. His major donors include 6K in 1K donations from rehab centers and medical facilities. He spent about $1800 on media and consultant fees.
4-11-14: Cortes raised $1300 in March. He’s raised 72.6K for the campaign and 45K on hand. No notable donations. He only spent $99 bucks for the month.
4-11-14: KCD raised $6975 in March. She’s raised 112K for the campaign and has about 97K on Hand. Big March donors include a 1K donation from big labor, and about 8 $500 donations with at least 2 from big beverage and other Democrat friendly organizations. Her first expenditure in 3 months was 1500 on consultants.
3-10-14: Karen Castor-Dentel hasn’t spent a dime on her campaign in two months. That’s bizarre. She did raise about 8K in February. FDP gave her $1,825 in campaign labor in-kind, so there is still some movement on her end. Most of her haul were individual donations of $500 or smaller. She’s raised about 105K for the campaign with about 90K on hand. More than both of her possible opponents combined.
3-10-14:Cortes banked about 5K for February with 1K donations coming from a PAC and a Waste Disposal Service in GA. There were also large donations by his colleagues in the towing industry and property developers. He spent about $2300 with $1500 of that going to consultants. He’s raised about 71.3K (with a 25K self loan) and has about 48K on hand.
3-7-14: Sturgill raised a solid 10.2K and having the best month of fundraiser so far in his campaign. It looks like he was able to tap that lucrative Tallahassee money. His haul featured large donations of $500 or more from various lobbies and PACs including 5 checks for 1K. He spend $3500. Mostly on consultants and software. He’s raised about 47K for the campaign with about 27K on hand.
3-1-14: Cortes had a healthy turnout at his campaign walk today. About 18 people from what the photos displayed.
2-20-14: Cortes has been endorsed by Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari. Better to bundle these smaller endorsement from municipal offices like he did with the Casselberry City Commission to pitch as a bigger story. Still, it’s one more elected official in his corner. I still wonder why the majority of SCREC and OCREC aren’t behind him though. These endorsers need to work the phones and get more non-elected officials on his side or else they’re not really any good.
2-19-14: Sturgill released a web vid today. I did a full write up. Read it HERE
2-15-14: Cortes was endorsed by the entire Casselberry City Commission. Read about it HERE
2-10-14: Karen Castor-Dentel won the January money chase with about $6200 raised. She didn’t spend a dime. There was a lot of money from big labor as well as some PAC and Beverage industry donations. 37 Donations. 7 large donations from $500 and up. 25 small donations of $100 or less. About 12 from within the district. She’s raised 97.2K for the campaign and has about 83K on hand. In a swing district like 30, this is going to be a thing for whichever Republican faces her in November.
2-10-14: Cortes raised $2075 in January and spent $1677. 11 donations. Most within the district. 4 Large donations of $500 or more. 6 small donations of $100 or less. It’s his lowest monthly haul for the campaign but still has raised twice as much on hand as Sturgill. The majority of his expenses was for consultants in Tally. He’s raised about 66K for the campaign with about 45K on hand.
2-10-14: Sturgill raised $4450 with large contributions by property management, lobby and medical connections. 12 donations. 4 large donations of $500 or more. 4 smaller donations of $100 or less. He spent $4884. 3K on a mailout and 1K on consultants. He’s raised 36K with about 20k on hand.
1-28-14: Sturgill announces endorsement from Oakland Commissioner Joseph Patrick “Hap” McMullen
1-10-14: Sturgill raised $2800 in December and spent $1500. He’s raised about 32.2K and has about 21K of it on hand. No notable donations.
1-10-14: Cortes banked $2,450 in the quiet fundraising month of December and spent $1,144. He did have a fundraiser early on in the month but it looked like it didn’t cost him anything or lead to a big haul. He holds steady with about 64K in the bank with about 40K on hand.
1-4-14: Caught the 2nd half of Sturgill’s radio hit on WORL 660 AM. The part I did catch was a discussion on Presidential politics. He did get a chance to tell voters where they could information about his campaign.
12-26-13: INTERVIEW REQUEST: I’ll be starting my candidate interviews in January. This is a 5 questions segment done over email. Interested candidates can reply to this request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling me at 386-334-4492
12-15-13: David Dwyer announced on Social Media today that he was resigning from the race. Full story and slide update to come. Attempting to contact Dwyer to see if he will endorse Cortes or Sturgill
12-11-13: Cortes’ fundraiser seemed well attended. Headcounts from photos on social media lead to an estimated 50 to 70 in attendance. UPDATE: Cortes called to clarify there were over a 100 there last night.
12-11-13: Did a wrap on November fundraising. you can read that HERE.
12-10-13;- KCD raised $9125 for the month of November. There was a lot of PAC money in their from beauty, pharmaceutical, beverage, and grocery interests about 3k. And some love money from her well connected family. The majority of her haul continues to be from outside of the district.
Let’s break down the numbers. 30 donations. 1 from inside the district. 14 large donations of $500 or higher. 11 small donations of $100 or less.
She spend about $2600 this month on an ngp expense reimbursement.
Altogether she’s about 85k for the campaign with about 71k on hand. She is still the money leader.
12-10-13: Cortes’ consultant put out a really silly release claiming victory for the month of November with his haul of $4050. It also claimed to had raised 90k for the year but didn’t mention that a large fraction of that was a personal loan. That is an omission that really bends the truth. I guess you have to justify payroll.
12-10-13: Business owner and Soil and Water committeeman Scott Sturgill posted $2,825 for the month of November. $2000 of that were from health care contacts. There was a $250 dollar donations from possible congressional candidate Col David Smith. 14 donations. 5 large donations of $500. 9 small donations of $100 or smaller. Approximately 5 from within the district.
He spent only $728 dollars last month on consultants. He’s raised 29,467 for the campaign with about 20k of that on hand.
12-10-13: Longwood commissioner and Business owner posted $4,050 for the month of November. Donations consisted of larger contributions from Law firms, property developers, and a colleague of Cortes’ from the towing industry. There were a lot of smaller donations or “love money” from family and friends as well. 30 donations. 2 large donations of $500. 20 smaller donations of $100 or less. Approximately 23 from inside the district.
He spent only 342 on internet expenses. He’s raised $61,7k for the campaign, anchored by a self loan of 25k, and has about 43k on hand. He’s also got a fundraiser scheduled for this evening.
12-8-13: Candidates Peter Vivaldi FL CD 9, Edward DeAguilera FL Sen D-9, and Com. Bob Cortes FL House 30 attended the Don Quijote awards last night and this photo has been making the rounds on social media.
11-30-13: Both Cortes and Sturgill put out last minute fundraising “asks” to supporters on Social Media.
11-25-13: KCD was at the Obamacare townhall last night. She arrived a few minutes late and was relatively quiet throughout the entire meeting. There were no opposing views presented so, there really wasn’t much for her to do or say.
11-22-13: Scott Sturgill got an endorsement from State Rep. Dennis Baxley today. I did a piece on it, you can read it HERE
11-22-13: David Dwyer never posted any numbers last month. I’m only hearing rumors over why that could be. Will monitor and update.
11-15-13: Scott Sturgill announced this event on FB
11-13-13: Bob Cortes banked $11,125 to win the fundraising push for October. The Majority of his donations were from a variety of businesses including Health Care, Property Development, and Contractors. He’s raised about 57k for the campaign and has about 40k on hand. Breaking down the numbers for the month, he received 36 donations, 16 donations of $500, 12 small donations of $100 or less with approximately 10 donations from within the district.
11-12-13: Castor Dentel raised 10k in October, putting her on pace for a big quarter. She only spent 744 of it, mostly on her website. Disney kicking in big bucks, $1500 that I can see. Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio donated a $500 to her campaign. Her treasurer donated $250. $500 from Centurylink. Some more money from her Educator Colleagues. 51 Donations. 12 Donations of $500. 32 small donations of $100 or less. Approx 15 from inside of the district.
11-11-13: Sturgill posted $3,107 but was upside down for the month because of expenses from the fundraiser for the last quarter, which he raised 12k. No big names on the report, a lot of the donations were from local businesses. 17 donations. 3 donations for $500, 10 donations of $100 or less. Approximately 8 from D30.
11-11-13: Because of new reporting rules, I’m going to post 1 article with all 4 candidates for better content. “Candidate X raises 500 in October” is kind of lame,
11-8-13: ISSUES ALERT- The push to have Stand Your Ground Changed/Repealed failed yesterday. Expect this to be a frequent question on the campaign trail. The controversial measure is still popular statewide but pockets of D30 still support a change.
11-5-13: Saw Sturgill participating in a Businessforce Political Panel with a couple of elected officials and candidates from other races, including Virginia Whittington from OC County Commission Disrict 6 and Greg Jackson from OC County Commission District 2.
10-30-13: Social Media Reach to Potential Voters. Facebook Likes: Castor-Dentel 534 Likes, Sturgill 454, Cortes 367, Dwyer 97. Twitter Followers: Castor-Dentel 552, Sturgill 106, Cortes 76, Dywer 3,
10-21-13: Cortes announces “Puerto Rican Style Christmas Evening” Fundraiser on 12-10-13, to be held at the Historic Longwood Community Building.
10-19-13:Cortes was out at the Cranes Roost Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. Whoever wins the primary will have to tap into that group of voters to beat KCD.
10-14-13: Both Castor-Dentel and Scott Sturgill were mentioned in an article about GOP fundraising dominance. You can read that article HERE
10-13-13: Both Cortes and Sturgill attended the Gunter rally in Pasco County yesterday. They met with major elected officials like Speaker Weatherford and AG Bondi. Sturgill stayed and manned the phone bank for a while after the rally. You can read the whole story on the deployment HERE.
10-10-13: Bob raised 10k this quarter. It was the first time he was outraised by Sturgill this campaign. He’s still got the overall money advantage but with the Tally Fundraisers, I was expecting a higher number. He says he hit his number. but there were also a lot of expenditures again this quarter. He’s still got a little cushion but he needs more. Let’s break down the numbers. One name that stuck out on the report was John Maingot, his fellow member on the Longwood Commission. This creates almost a 2 on 2 on the commission with Durso and Bundy supporting Sturgill. Read my write-up HERE
Lets look at the numbers. 84 total contributions. 8 maximum contributions of $500. 58 small donations of $100 or less. Approximately 27 from outside of the district.
10-10-13: Scott brought in 12,025 for the quarter. He’s going to have to do better. He’s got some key personalities from the community on his side but he’s going to have to ask them to work for him if he’s going to catch Cortes. His expenditures are also %50 of what he’s brought in this quarter. You can read my write-up HERE. Let’s break down the numbers.
58 Donations. 11 Maximum Contributions of $500. 28 Donations of $100 or less. Approximately 25 from outside the district.
10-8-13: Karen Castor-Dentel bringing in a haul for the fundraising quarter of $28,305 which brings her total tally just short of 70k with about 60k on hand. A lot of familiar names on KCD’s money list, including her Sister and Congresswoman Kathy Castor, former CFO and Gubernatorial Candidate Alex Sink, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer‘s Superpac. Also, every notable Democratic activist in the region donating as well as healthy donations from Florida Hospital, Traffic Camera Companies, and other corporate “Whale Donors”.
139 Donations. 21 Maximum Contribution of $500 Dollars. 36 small contributions $100 or lower. Approximately 67 from outside the district.
10-3-13: Had the chance to speak with Bob Cortes today, when asked about his fundraising haul from the last quarter he replied “We hit our numbers and we’re really happy with it”
10-2-13: Sturgill put out a survey today on FB to gauge the concerns of the voters. A proven tactic that usually reinforces a candidate’s existing platform.
10-1-13: Dwyer making some noise on Social Media today, with this post on FB
Accusations about residency are common in the State House Races. I’ll talk to each candidate when I get the chance.
If I’m guessing right, the formula Dwyer used to come to that conclusion, then there could be something there. However, you’ve got to consider if Cortes and Sturgill are renting inside the district.
9-30-13: Castor-Dentel put out a final call for donations before the fundraising on FB. “Dear Friends, Today is a crucial deadline in campaign fundraising and I have a number of opponents lining up to challenge me next November.www.karencastordentel.com. If you can help me before midnight tonight, I’ll stand a better chance to continue to fight for education, economic development and the environment.Any amount will help! Please go online to show your support and contribute
9-30-13: Bob Cortes had a busy day. Like every other candidate running in a race right now, he put out a call for donations before the fundraising quarter ends. He is expected to have a big haul with a couple of Tally fundraisers held for him.
He was also endorsed by Ex Governor of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuno. This is likely the major announcement he hinted at last week. In Hispanic circles it’s valuable but the nod he’s already gotten from fellow Republican State Representatives in the surrounding districts are even more so.
9-29-13: Sturgill put out a fundraising call on Orange and Seminole County Young Republican pages. Hopefully this doesn’t become a trend. If other candidates see this, it could open the door for dozens of other candidates to post and drown out informational content those pages provide.
9-28-13: Spoke to Cortes for a second at an event last night and he teased important news to be released this week. We’ll keep an ear to the ground.
9-26-13: Scott Sturgill endorsed Edward DeAguilera in his State Senate 12 race. We’ll see if he’s coalition building to try and capture some of the Hispanic vote. It probably doesn’t mean that much but I’ll be looking to see if DeAguilera does the same. Here is the link to the endorsement HERE.
9-24-13: Reports from Tally have a Castor-Dentel fundraiser taking place this afternoon. No names or graphics. One last fundraising push before the quarter ends.
9-22-13: David Dwyer’s Campaign Website is up Votedaviddwyer.com it will be added to the Elections Tracker.
9-22-13: Sources close to this race inform me that State Senator Alan Hays was unhappy being on the host committee for the Tally Cortes Fundraiser. At first I dismissed it as gossip but on the latest flyer for the event, Hays has been replaced with State Senator Aaron Bean. Update: I asked BC about this and he said he had authorization from Hays and it was a simple mix-up. The name switch was known by everyone involved.
9-17-13: KCD has a fundraiser in downtown Orlando. If it wasn’t such a busy day, I would have done a full post. The theme is a “Women and Wine” and the features an all female hosting comittee with Castor-Dentel’s Mom, Betty, and State Senator Geraldine Thompson. The flyer is below.
9-16-13: Got to watch Karen Castor-Dentel at the State Legislative Delegation Meeting, downtown Orlando today. KCD asked a lot of follow up questions and made an informal agreement with OCPS School Board Chair Bill Sublette to invite him into the education discussion in Tally to secure more funding for education.
9-11-13: Got a hold of Dwyer, had a short phone conversation and posted his campaign announcement HERE
9-11-13: Republican David Dwyer filed to run last week. Working on an announcement post waiting for calls to be returned.
9-9-13: Cortes announces big fundraiser in Tally. I really want to see the money numbers from the next quarter, not just for the amount race but to see where the loyalties are in this race. Cortes has the momentum at this time but not everyone has united behind him yet. Some are still loyal to Sturgill. My full post on the Cortes Fundraiser HERE
9-7-13: The Florida Democratic Party didn’t do Karen Castor Dentel any favors with it’s leadership releasing two key operatives responsible for helping House candidates get elected after transparency oversight. KCD has enough of a challenge getting re-elected without and problems with the state party doesn’t help. (Full post HERE).
9-4-13: A brief look at the Sturgill’s Fundraising numbers show a lot of “love money” from known individuals. The real truth teller will be when the next campaign finance reports come out. Sturgill recently held his campaign kickoff and the donations from that event will reveal who’s really in who’s corner in this important race.
8-31-13: The Orlando Sentinel (story HERE) is reporting that Longwood could be the only city in Seminole County to raise taxes this year. This could be a potential problem for BC in a Republican primary running for a position in a body that hasn’t raised taxes in years. BC is against the increase but two of his fellow Commissioners have endorsed SS. I’ll see if the increase happens and if it does, keep an eye out if SS uses it against BC in the race.
8-29-13: SS sets a goal on FB for 10k in donations in 10 days. I’ll be tracking his process. Jennifer Sullivan in District 31 is also doing a similar mini campaign and is close to reaching her mark.
8-28-13: Some Social Media noise today. SS thanked everyone for attending his kickoff fundraiser last night in Heathrow and BC crossed 200 FB followers. KCD silence continues.
8-25-13: CF News 13 aired that story today. The majority of it featured BC as he was the only one who could make the interview. SS was mentioned. KCD declined to comment on the story
8-14-13: Went into CF News 13 today to talk about the aggressive early campaigning during this race. We touched on the KCD sending out walkers, BC aggressive fundraising and Endorsement Spree. We talked about SS potential role in the attack mailer and his efforts to stop Cortes’ momentum. Story will air throughout the week.
8-8-13: While doing Campaign Finance Research, I discovered that Belita Grassel donated 100 to Karen Castor-Dentel in her Florida House District 30 race as listed on KCD’s finance reports. Grassel is a newly announced Republican candidate in district 31 primary.
8-6-13: BC announces BBQ Fundraiser with Hosting Committee including 6 State Reps (Precourt, Tobia, Nelson, Brodeur, Santiago, Workman), As well as OC Commissioner Pete Clarke, Kissimmee Commissioner Wanda Rentas and Osceola Commissioner John Quinones as well as several other municipal leaders. Noted that date of fundraiser is the same as YR Annual in Orlando.
8-6-13: SS- Sturgill announces Kick-Off Fundraising Reception for Florida House 30 Race. My post HERE
8-1-13: BC posted photos from his fundraiser on FB. VIPs in attendance include. Former Congressional Candidate Julius Melendez, Current Congressional Candidate Jorge Bonilla, Kissimmee City Commissioner Wanda Rentas, former State House Candidate Marco Pena as well as some other political operatives.
8-1-13: NOTE OPENED
Introduction: The race to be the State Representative for Florida’s 30th House District will be one of the most hotly contested in the state. Incumbent Democrat Karen Castor-Dentel won the seat last November by defeating Republican Scott Plakon and while the Obama Campaigned played a huge part in delivering victory for her last November, her seat could withstand the higher Republican turnout of a mid-term and the party wants to keep that seat. She had a stronger session than most. The Maitland School Teacher saw the Governor’s education push deliver pay raises, and more budget money for her colleagues. The Parent Trigger Bill was also defeated. Castor-Dentel campaigned heavily against it after being elected. This will be another exciting race to watch.
It was also the first race in the area with a serious primary.
Longwood Commissioner and Small Business owner Bob Cortes (Cortes Towing) jumped into the race and aggressively started fundraising with much of the funding coming from his friends in the towing industry and personal loans. He also started racking up the endorsements from multiple sitting State Representatives to include Stephen Precourt, Jason Brodeur, David Santiago, John Tobia, and Ritch Workman. As well as Orange County Commissioners Pete Clarke and Jennifer Thompson. All of this came just over 6 months after the last election cycle ended. Cortes had essentially moved the timeline up 6 months to get the jump on any primary opposition.
Enter Water and Soil Committeeman and fellow Small Business Owner (CEO of Durable Safety Products) Scott Sturgill. Sturgill entered the race already behind due to Cortes’ early start. Falling behind in fundraising and with a lot of key endorsements already taken, Sturgill has had to be the aggressor. He touted the endorsements of Cortes’ two fellow Longwood Commissioners (Butch Bundy, Joe Durso) and has been attacking Cortes on Social Media by pointing out that he lobbied the Volusia County Commission for a Tow Rate Increase. Sturgill has also been linked to an attack mailer on Cortes with over a year to go until election day.
Chances of another Republican jumping into this primary are slim. Cortes has the resources, but Sturgill does have relationships in the community that could put him on the same level.