Now that the match ups have been settled for the St. Petersburg City Council elections this year, it is time to take a look at how the fund raising race is going. Money does not always equate success in local elections (see John McQueen in 2003, or Darden Rice in 2005), but it can provide some clues.
Leading the money race at this point is Gershom Faulkner running for Renee Flowers seat, District 7. Faulkner has raised an astounding $9,933 in the reporting period ending June 30th. Faulkner started raising money in earnest in April when he garnered over $2,000. Much of this money was raised from connections he had made in Tallahassee during his tenure as legislative assistant to State Rep. Frank Peterman. This money can also be viewed as the high regard Faulkner is held in by his Tallahassee contacts.
In May and June, Faulkner turned to his fund raising ability in St. Petersburg. Supporters such as State Senator Charlie Justice, and State Reps. Bill Heller and Rick Kriseman helped him raise the balance of the $ 9,900. The good news for Faulkner, he has yet to tap the fundraising assistance from many more of his high profile supporters including County Commissioners Ken Welch and Calvin Harris. Also, Rep. Frank Peterman has yet to tap his fundraising base for Faulkner.
The bad news for Gershom Faulkner? He spent $8,700 this past quarter. Much of this money went to his high profile Campaign Manager, Mitch Kates. However, a substantial portion also went into campaign literature most of which is still in inventory.
Wengay Newton, Faulkners' opponent in the general election in November has raised only $2,300 to date. Like Faulkner, he has already spent most of it. Newton has spent over $1,600 to date. This doesn't leave him with a lot of cash on hand either.
The other big money raiser is Ed Montanari. Montanari will be facing a September primary in the race for the Distrcit 3 seat being vacated by Bill Foster. Montanari raised $6,400, the vast majority of it in June alone. Unlike his counterparts in District 7, Montanari has spent only a paltry $743 to date. Most of that ($500) went for consulting fees to the Mallard Group in Clearwater. Montanari better hope Mallard will break out of the losing streak they went on in 2006.
In contrast, Montanaris' opponents have raised only $2,300 combined. Bill Dudley, who lost this race to Bill Foster in 2003 has raised only $819 to date. This despite the fact that he has been running for this seat for the past 4 years. Cathy Harrelson contributed the $500 that her campaign reported raising this period. She did not officially get into the race until June. The fourth person in this race, Cliff Gephart, has yet to file a campaign finance report.
In the District 1 race, Herb Poslon, appointed to the Council to replace Rick Kriseman, raised $2,625 this period. $1,000 came from the Polson family. Herb's wife wrote a $500 check to the campaign and Herb loaned $500. Polson spent a considerable amount already on campaign start up costs, but still had $1,300 cash remaining at the end of the reporting period. Polson's opponent, former Council Member Bob Kersteen, loaned his campaign $100. This is the total extent of Kersteen's fundraising so far.
In District 5, incumbent Jamie Bennett was waiting to see if he was going to draw an opponent. He has only loaned his campaign $500 so far. He wound up drawing two last minute opponents, Chris Kelly and Debra Woodard. Neither of the challengers have had to file a finance report as of yet.