Lauren Book raises more than $ 40K in March as she faces her first challenger ever

Facing a Primary challenge – her first ever – to stay in the Senate, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book collected $ 40,735 in the two-plus weeks in March she was allowed to fundraise.

Book has been a reliable fundraiser for other candidates, amassing $ 2.4 million for her political committee that she says will expressly help support other candidates. And in March, her committee, Leadership for Florida, plunked down $ 10,000 for Ruth’s List Florida, which the organization uses to support female politicians who support abortion rights. That payment accounted for all but $ 756 of Book’s campaign spending in March.

But the entrance of a challenger, former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Shariefhas some predicting this Senate race will be a slugfest with big donations and massive spending.

Book is a fundraising juggernaut and big name in the Legislature. The spectacle of her fending off a challenge from a newcomer to state legislative races is a result of the decennial process of redistricting. Book moved out of her Plantation home to avoid a Primary challenge with Sen.-elect Rosalind Osgoodwho was elected to represent Senate District 32 in March.

But then Sharief, who had been on either the Miramar City Commission or the Broward County Commission for 13 years, entered the race. Sharief, who announced her bid to represent Senate District 35 on March 25, did not report any money raised or spent through her personal campaign account in March. Inquiries about whether she’s set up a political committee were not returned Wednesday.

Book had only 17 days in March to raise money as lawmakers are forbidden to fundraise while Session is in progress. Most of the money Book raised in March went to her personal account, which is a switch from her previous months’ reports.

Real estate development and construction weighed in big for Book last month, accounting for one-fourth of the money Book received through both her personal campaign and her political committee.

The eye care industry gave big, proportionally speaking. Book’s largest single donation, $ 6,500, came from OD-EYEPAC, a political committee for the Florida Optometric Association. And she received $ 3,050 from a smattering of eye care professionals.

Book received more than $ 10,000 from the medical sector, accounting for roughly another fourth of all her March donations. That includes a $ 1,000 donation from a health care staffing company, Med-Call Health Care Inc., based in Warrenville, Illinois.

SD 35 covers a chunk of Broward County south of Interstate 595 and west of Florida’s Turnpike. Pembroke Pines and Miramar account for most of it but also has all or parts of Cooper City, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise and Weston.

The campaigns faced a Monday deadline to report all spending and fundraising through last month.


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