Local News

Candidates are funding re-election bids

SEBRING - Even without opponents, two local House and Senate candidates are quietly raising money for re-election campaigns. State Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, who is still deployed in Kuwait as a emergency physician, has filed for re-election in November 2014. From February to March, before he went to the Middle East, Pigman raised $12,600, mostly from 26 contributors. Of those, three $500 checks came from different names at the same address in Louisville, Ky., Compbenefits Co., Compbenefits Ins. Co., and Humana/Compbenefits. Humana also contributed another $500 from a Tallahassee address.
Nine more $500 checks came from the same address in Maitland, an Orlando suburb: Kang Rodney Chasson, Dale S. Birenbaum, Bradford J. Bowls, Ka Hang Chan, M.D., Leonardo Cisneros, Paul C. Deponte, Vicki K. Friend, D.O., Ketan Pandya, and Vanessa Peluso. Most show up on the Internet as doctors with Florida Emergency Physicians, a Central Florida staffing agency. Seven contributors have Tallahassee addresses. At least two-thirds of the contributors appear to be in the health care business. Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, who represents the southern half of Highlands County, has gathered 141 contributions worth $67,200. After redistricting, he was among a group of senators elected in 2012 to two-year terms. The rest, like Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, were elected in the same year to four-year terms. She has filed for re-election in 2016. Of Galvano's 141 contributions, 122 have Florida addresses. Five $500 checks were from Disney Destinations, Disney Photo Imaging, Walt Disney Parks, Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney Travel. Only two contributions were the names of individuals; the rest were corporate. Four of the 20 Senate districts have more than one candidate running, and 33 of the 120 House districts. 'U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, has raised $49,901 in a bid for a third term in Congress. He represents all of Highlands County. He has an opponent, Erin Kent Magee, R-Lehigh Acres. Only three of Rooney's second-quarter contributors were from Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and Maryland. With token opposition in 2012, Rooney began his 2014 campaign with $436,770 cash on hand. His campaign has no debts. gpinnell@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5828