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Jax Daily Record Friday, Oct. 14, 201112:00 PM EST

Weatherford top 3Q fundraiser in House

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Leadership has its privileges.

Wesley Chapel Republican Will Weatherford, who is slated to become House speaker after the 2012 elections, collected $190,300 in campaign contributions between July 1 and September 30 — far outdistancing all other House candidates.

Weatherford, whose only declared opponent in District 61 is no-party candidate Franklin Donald Stockmeister, increased his overall cash total for the 2012 campaign to $266,750, according to quarterly reports filed this week.

He collected contributions from a wide range of businesses and organizations that have interests in Tallahassee, such as HMOs, theme parks, pari-mutuel facilities and online-travel companies.

Here is a list of the top 10 House fundraisers during the quarter:

• Weatherford, $190,300.

• Rep. Dana Young (R-Tampa), $140,495.

• Rep. Daniel Davis (R-Jacksonville), $80,053.

• Rep. Richard Corcoran (R-New Port Richey), $77,100.

• Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach), $72,050.

• Rep. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), $70,160.

• Non-incumbent Davie Republican Merick Lewin, $62,360.

• Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples), $54,594.

• Rep. Larry Ahern (R-St. Petersburg), $54,450.

• Rep. Ray Pilon (R-Sarasota), $52,105.

The totals are cash contributions and do not include in-kind donations. Also, redistricting next year could change district numbers and opponents for some candidates.

The contribution reports show a dramatic fund-raising divide between Republicans, who dominate the House and control its leadership positions, and Democrats.

The top Democratic fund-raiser for the quarter was Jared Moskowitz, a Parkland city commissioner who is running to replace term-limited Rep. Ari Porth (R-Coral Springs) in District 96. Moskowitz raised $46,589 during the three-month period and has collected a total of $104,587.

Among other non-incumbents, the top money-raiser was Lewin, a contender in District 97, which is being vacated by Rep. Martin Kiar, a Davie Democrat seeking a Senate seat.

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