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Local News

Pigman leads District 55 money race

Published:   |   Updated: March 11, 2013 at 07:56 PM

It won't be known until Tuesday evening who won the State Representative District 55 primary, but Cary Pigman clearly triumphed in the money race.

Pigman, a Florida Hospital Heartland emergency room doctor, won $33,675 in contributions from Publix Super Markets, Walmart, the Florida Hospital Association and others between July 21 and Aug. 9. Overall, he reported $94,919.

Former State Rep. Randy Johnson, who moved to Sebring from Celebration, grabbed just $15,600 in cash during the same 20-day reporting period for a $33,440 grand total.

House District 55 includes all or parts of Glades, Highlands, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties. The Republican primary winner will face Crystal Drake in the Nov. 6 general election. She raised $625 in the same period, and has $12,342 overall.

Pigman's initial contributors were mostly from Highlands County. Then around May, four $500 contributions came from Southern Gardens in Clewiston, and more poured in from Winter Haven, Auburndale, Lakeland, Wauchula, Bartow, Panama City, Tallahassee, Miami and Tampa.

In June, out of the 47 contributions, 41 were for the $500 maximum. Only four were from local donors.

Johnson's list started just the opposite: the first 10 contributors were from Sebring, Winter Park, Tallahassee, Miami and Aventura. Of his 117 total contributions, most are for the $500 maximum.

Johnson contributors include $2,000 from Walt Disney, and $500 each from Teachers United for Better Schools, Save Our Internet Access, Florida Restaurant Association, AT&T, Verizon and the American Bankers Association.

During last week's Highlands Today forum, Johnson, who said he is against new casinos, claimed many anti-Johnson ads were purchased with "soft money" from pro-gambling interests. Pigman did not speak about the issue.

Drake pointed out that most contributions to her campaign were small and from within the district. With the exception of $50 from Wesley Chapel in Pasco County, two $50 contributions from Warrenton, Ga., four $100 contributions from Fort Pierce, $25 from Jupiter and $500 from the Florida Cattlemen's Association of Kissimmee, her claim holds up. (863) 386-5828