Deutch raised about $636,000 from July through September, making him one of the top 10 fundraisers in the House during that time and boosting his cash on hand to more than $1 million. That’s a notable uptick from his last two fundraising quarters, when he brought in about $167,000 and $84,000.
“As it looks, he’s going to have to introduce himself to some new voters, as will everyone running in the state of Florida who’s a member of Congress,” said Andrew Weinstein, a Democratic fundraiser in South Florida and one of President Obama’s top 2012 bundlers. “I’m sure that’s a motivating factor.”
For her part, Frankel collected $355,000, bringing her total amount in the bank to about $660,000. In the two quarters before, she took in $239,000 and $263,000.
Deutch and Frankel hold seats in Democratic-heavy South Florida, with districts covering both Palm Beach and Broward counties. But under the proposed map, one district is entirely contained within Palm Beach County, while another falls mostly within Broward County, where neither lives.
Deutch currently represents 58 percent of the Democrats placed in the Palm Beach County district, while Frankel represents 37 percent of them, according to number-crunching Democratic redistricting consultant Matthew Isbell. In the Broward County-focused district, Frankel’s seat now covers 46 percent of the Democrats there, while Deutch’s spans 42 percent of them.
Deutch's and Frankel’s offices did not return requests for comment.
Florida Democrats emphasized that both Deutch and Frankel are popular in Broward and Palm Beach and will be well-positioned to run for either seat. But primary challenges are already on the horizon, especially in the district that adds on more Broward territory.
Lawyer Stephanie Toothaker, who worked as a special counsel to former Sen. Bob Graham and as co-lead counsel for Broward County for the Obama-Biden legal team, said she’s “strongly considering” a bid for the Broward seat, depending on how the lines are finalized. And she said she’s not deterred by Deutch's or Frankel’s fundraising hauls, touting her political ties and business-community connections as proof she can raise money.
“It’s an open seat,” Toothaker said. “As you look at the way these maps are drawn, I have to say I think they’re perfectly drawn for a candidate like me, or me specifically.”
Toothaker has discussed her possible candidacy with Graham’s daughter, Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham, who herself faces a tough reelection in North Florida if the proposed map is adopted. In a statement, Gwen Graham likened Toothaker to a “sister” but said she doesn’t get involved in congressional primaries.
Democrats also mentioned state Rep. Kristin Jacobs, who ran against Frankel in 2012, as a possible candidate for the Broward-heavy district. Though Frankel trounced Jacobs, 61 percent to 39 percent, in the primary, she only narrowly defeated her in Broward County. Jacobs’s office declined to comment on whether she was interested in a congressional bid.