GOP is in the money for '05


Published: Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Local Republicans may have made history in 2005 by raising more money for their party than Democrats, Alachua County's dominant political organization.
Meanwhile, the parties' heavyweights in the state Senate District 14 seat continued to outperform their primary opponents in campaign donations.
The Alachua County Republican Executive Committee reported 2005 income of $97,230 compared to $91,631 for the county Democratic Executive Committee.
"I attribute it 100 percent to a good team - a good group of members who put their heart and soul into making it happen," Chairman Stafford Jones said. He said this is the first time local Republicans have earned more in a year than Democrats.
Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Jon Reiskind said both parties did a good job of raising money in 2005.
"All of the political parties have to raise funds. That's part of the process," Reiskind said. "The total from both parties is a good amount of money."
Campaign finance reports for the final quarter of 2005 show that state Rep. Ed Jennings and Alachua County Sheriff Steve Oelrich have big contribution leads over opponents for the Senate District 14 seat.
The contest is expected to be one of the most watched and competitive in the state. Sen. Rod Smith, D-Alachua, is vacating it to run for governor.
On the Democratic side, Jennings has now collected $126,670 in campaign contributions compared to $80,210 for former state Rep. Perry McGriff.
For the Republicans, Oelrich has garnered $101,971 while Travis Horn has totaled $33,841. Horn is the former chairman of Alachua County Republicans. Columbia County Commissioner Jennifer Flinn lags behind at $6,940.
Three candidates are bidding for Jennings' District 23 House seat. Republican Cain Davis of Gainesville, a consultant and Gainesville Housing Authority official, has $42,031 in contributions.
In the Democratic race, Gainesville City Commissioner Chuck Chestnut has $21,722 and Alachua City Commissioner Bonnie Burgess has $4,875.
Cindy Swirko can be reached at (352) 374-5024 or swirkoc@ gvillesun.com.

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