By the numbers: A look at money in politics in area state house and senate races

Money raised and spent in area campaigns
Posted at 4:47 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 17:53:47-04

With two of the most expensive state races in our area, we decided to take a look at the money raised and spent by the candidates’ campaigns in state primaries.

The money raised and spent in most of these local races is well into the six figures and in two races the amounts are into the seven figures.

That’s serious money, especially when you take into consideration that the job of state representative pays just a fraction of what many of the candidates are spending.

Both members of the house and senate are paid $29,697 per year and a per diem during the session, which lasts for 60 days.

House members are elected to 2-year terms, while senate members are elected to 4-year terms.

Below is a look at the Palm Beach County races, from most expensive to least expensive.

The information comes from the Florida Department of State's Division of Elections campaign finance database. It does not include money spent on races by Political Action Committees. 


Irving ‘Irv’ Slosberg is facing Jeff Clemens in Florida Senate District 31’s Democratic primary race. It’s a lopsided money race with Slosberg outspending Clemens roughly 6-to-1

Slosberg raised $1,960,706 with the vast majority, $1,881,000 coming from Irv himself. His campaign spent $1,808,741, with $680,000 going to Canal Partners Media.

Slosberg’s net worth, according to the most recent financial disclosure available is almost $9,5 million.
Among Slosberg's holdings are 2,000 shares of his beloved Starbucks. Starbucks is currently trading for around $56, so his stocks are worth well over $100,000.

Clemens raised $300,179, and he donated $2,000 to his own campaign, making him the campaign's largest donor.

His campaign spent $295,830, with most of it, $164,500, going to Fletcher Rowley a Tennessee-based PR company specializing in campaigns.

Clemens’ net worth is just over $150,000 according to his most recent financial disclosure and it includes musical instruments valued at over $11,000.


Former state house member and city planner Bobby Powell is facing attorney Michael Steinger in Florida Senate District 30’s Democratic primary race.

This race too is quite lopsided with Steinger outspending Powell almost 5-to-1.

Steinger raised $908,280 with two thirds of it, $ 665,170 coming from himself.

His campaign spent $877,250. It paid $ 578,210 to Screen Media Strategies, a media planning and placement firm based in Virginia and more than $120,00 to Cornerstone Solutions, a local political consultant firm.

Powell raised $248,408, which included 176 $1,000 contributions mostly coming from Political Action Committees (PACs) and law firms.

His campaign spent $184,828. Itsts biggest expense, $ 70,493 went to a direct mail company called Max Sumner 


Kelly Skidmore of Boca Raton is a former state house member and self-described PR specialist.
Emily Slosberg is an attorney who dropped a senate bid earlier this year to run for the seat currently held by her father Irving Slosberg.

Slosberg’s campaign raised $235,069 with most of it, $183,035, coming from herself

Skidmore’s campaign raised $87,877, with most of it coming from people in the medical field.

Slosberg’s campaign spent  $205,599.. Its biggest expense was reimbursing Emily Slosberg $73,531, including paying $70,000 she loaned her campaign.

Skidmore’s campaign spent $65,554, the vast majority going to MDW communications, which was paid for mailers and campaign materials.


This three-way house race is yet another lopsided one. David Silvers who ran unsuccessfully against Bill Hager in the last cycle, has recently moved to run in Florida House District 87, and has more than three times the money his both competitors have combined.

Silvers raised $275,815 with almost half of it, $130,000, coming from himself.

Darren Ayoub raised $57,075, with all but $7,075 coming from himself.

Virginia Savietto raised $23,974 with $2,000 coming from New York investors Richard and Mark Gerson and $600 from herself.

Ayoub spent just $3,737 according to the most recent filings, with the biggest expense being $1,816 for yard signs purchased at My Campaign Store in Kentucky.

Savietto spent $10,349. Her biggest expense was $1,467 she paid to local political consultant Richard Giorgio’s Patriot Games firm.

Silvers spent $227,577 with more than half, $139,652 going to Patriot Games, the same political consulting firm used by Michael Steinger.


In Senate District 29’s primary, house member and insurance agent Kevin Rader is facing career educator Mindy Koch.

In yet another extremely lopsided race Rader outraised Koch by more than 12-to-1: $233,084 for Rader vs. $18,077 raised by Koch, which includes $7,000 of her own money.

Rader spent $171,295 with over $70,000 going to Stratford Strategies, a marketing firm from Ft. Lauderdale.

Koch spent $16,816, with almost $4,000 going to her campaign manager Daryl Glinney


In this Republican primary Palm Beach County grower Raymond ‘Rick’ Roth is facing former Patrick Rooney aide Andrew Watt.

Roth raised $129,354 with almost $100,000 coming from farmers, including himself.

With $63,133 Watt raised less than half of his opponent and it includes $11,000 of his own money

Roth spent $127,717 with over $50,000 going to direct mail.

Watt spent $ 32,373 more than half of it going to direct mail.


The Democratic primary for house District 88 is has three candidates:

  • Al Jacquet, attorney and Delray Beach commissioner
  • Edwin Ferguson, a Riviera Beach lawyer and former teacher
  • Angie Gray, Realtor and former Delray Beach commissioner

Jacquet’s campaign raised more than two times the combined total of his opponents, $112,300, with PACs contributing almost $25,000.

Ferguson’s campaign raised $38,332, with one third of it ($12,216) coming from attorneys.

Gray’s campaign raised $18,611 which includes $7,300 of the candidate’s own money.

The Jacquet campaign spent $76,442, which includes the largest expense of $32,536 to Cornerstone Solutions, the West Palm Beach Consulting firm mentioned several times before.

Ferguson’s campaign spent $31,904, its largest expense was $ 8,598 paid to Articulate Consulting.

Gray’s campaign spent $14,780 with most of it going to advertising and signs.


Former Army Sergeant Tinu Pena is facing Wellington councilman and firefighter Matt Willhite in this Democratic primary.

Willhite far outraised Pena with his $121,418 vs. her $28,892, which includes a $6,000 of Pena’s own money.

Willhite’s campaign spent just over $103,000 with half of it going to Edge Communications for consulting and MDW from Fort Lauderdale for direct mail.

Pena’s campaign spent roughly $23,000 with nearly $10,00 going to direct mail.


In this republican primary Laurel Bennett is pitted against Stuart Mears.

Bennett, who according to her website has a background in computer and information systems, raised just over $5,000.

Mears who served in the Army and has a background in working in the service industry, also raised just over $5,000 which includes $1,000 of his own money.

The Bennett campaign spent just over $3,600 and its biggest expense was the qualifying fee of $1,781. Her campaign paid out all its money to Bennett to cover travel expenses, gas and yard signs.

Mears’ biggest expense also was the qualifying fee. His campaign spent just over half the money it raised which included $347 on food for a campaign event.


The Graphic below shows the money raised and spent in all Palm Beach County House and Senate races. You can select one or more races by checking the boxes. Mouse over the candidate's name or on the chart to find out more.