Follow the money: Dane Eagle’s finances and what they mean

02-09-20 Dane Eagle Trump rallyDane Eagle speaks at a Trump rally.                                     (Photo: Dane Eagle for Congress campaign)

Feb. 10, 2020 by David Silverberg

The campaign of State Rep. Dane Eagle (R-77-Cape Coral) raised $423,095 in the fourth quarter of 2019, the second-highest amount of funds of all candidates in the 19th Congressional District, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

What makes Eagle’s fundraising remarkable is that it consisted entirely of donations and no loans.

There were 237 donations to Eagle’s campaign, of which 11 came from committees and political action committees (PACs) rather than individuals. These PACs included the Florida Transportation Builders Association PAC, the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers PAC, Giving US Security PAC and the Universal Health Services Employee Good Government Fund.

One prominent Southwest Floridian who contributed was Sam Galloway Jr., the car dealer, who kicked in $5,000.

Also contributing was the Jeff Miller for Congress campaign. Miller is a former Republican representative for Florida’s 1st Congressional District in the Panhandle, a seat currently held by fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz. While Gaetz has been an outspoken and aggressive supporter of President Donald Trump, he committed the heresy of voting to limit the president’s power to wage war on Iran.

Eagle’s donors were also from all over the United States, including Washington, DC, Pennsylvania and Alabama. While the vast majority were from Florida, they came from all over the state.

In this period Eagle’s campaign committee spent $47,758.17.

Much of this was spent on consultants. Like his fellow Republican competitor William Figlesthaler, Eagle is using Anedot, Baton Rouge, La., as his fundraising consultant. In addition he’s drawing on the expertise of Picotte and Porter, LLC, Jacksonville, Fla., for additional fundraising advice and assistance and TM Strategic Consulting, based in Fort Myers, which provided general political advice and branding expertise. The company is run by Terry Miller, a conservative political strategist.

Most expenses were for routine campaign requirements like videography, event logistics, software, advertising and the like.

Analysis: What it means

Eagle has been in state office since winning election in 2012 and has risen, at the remarkably young age of 36, to be acting House majority leader in the Florida legislature. This gives him a wide network of contacts and national connections, which he’s using for his campaign.

Based on the data in his FEC report, he’s running a professional, well-funded campaign that draws on established professional political expertise. His donor base is diverse and extensive, which demonstrates real grassroots support, most of it local.

Ideologically, Eagle is an extreme Trumper and has staked his claim on the far right edge of the Trump universe, which should serve him well with core Republican primary voters. He’s an active user of social media and his media to date fully reflects Trump’s rage and paranoia against Democrats and anyone who dares to disagree with the leader. He also shares Trump’s nasty and vicious absolutism. There’s no reason to believe that these are not Eagle’s genuine sentiments and outlook as well.

Uniquely, Eagle showed interest in a political career at an early age and served as deputy chief of staff to then-Gov. Charlie Crist (R) at the age of 24. He has shown that he can master legislation and legislative maneuvering. Unlike other candidates who have jumped into this race after—or during—other, non-political careers, Eagle is all politics, all the time.

Given his young age and early prominence, Eagle will likely be on the political scene for a long time unless he suddenly flames out—often an occupational hazard for young prodigies. Of the Republican candidates for Congress in the 19th District, he is at the moment the most formidable one.

Next: Ford O’Connell

Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg


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