Jennifer Webb tops HD 69 field with $21K raised in November

Jennifer Webb

Republican Ray Blacklidge touted his fundraising success in the race to replace Rep. Kathleen Peters Tuesday, but new campaign finance reports show Democrat Jennifer Webb posted the highest total for November.

Peters announced earlier this year that she would forego a fourth term in HD 69 to instead run for a seat on the Pinellas County Commission. Blacklidge and fellow Republican Jeremy David Bailie have filed for the race, with the former holding the advantage in fundraising.

Blacklidge tacked on $5,364 last month and spent $4,985, leaving him with a small net gain in cash on hand and putting his total fundraising past the $75,000 mark, including $5,500 in loans. Heading into December he had $50,561 in the bank. Blacklidge also has $18,500 stashed away in a political committee, Friends of Ray Blacklidge PC, though he hasn’t reported any new contributions for it since September.

“This community is rallying around our positive message,” Blacklidge said in a Tuesday email. “I’m grateful for the friends who are joining our team because they believe in our campaign to create jobs and grow our economy. We are going strong, and I look forward to continuing to connect with as many District 69 residents as possible.”

Bailie for his part added $3,400 last month and spent $1,184, leaving him with $23,476 in the bank after three months in the campaign, compared to six months for Blacklidge.

Though the winner of the Blacklidge v. Bailie contest has the better shot at taking over for Peters next fall, Webb’s inaugural campaign finance report was the best of the three candidates and puts her nearly even with Bailie moneywise.

Webb showed $21,225 in contributions and spent just $840, leaving her with $20,385 after four weeks in the race.

Making the donor roll were St. Petersburg City Councilmembers Darden Rice and Karl Nurse, St. Petersburg Free Clinic director Beth Houghton, and Emily DiVito of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, among others.

HD 69 covers parts of Pinellas County, including Gulfport, Madeira Beach, South Pasadena and Treasure Island. The district has a slight Republican lean, though voter registrations between the two major parties are relatively close.

Peters won her 2012 contest against Democrat Josh Shulman 52-48, but those margins were pushed higher in the two cycles she was an incumbent — she won 58-52 in 2014 and took 57 percent of the vote in 2016.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

One comment

  • Raymond Blacklidge

    December 13, 2017 at 9:42 am

    What a slanted article. You are comparing apples to oranges sir, a better comparison would be all three candidates first period of reporting. Both Blacklidge and Webb had about three weeks during their first reporting period and Blacklidge raised more money. Blacklidge also raised more than Bailie in a comparison of each candidates first reporting period. Can we have some unbiased reporting please.

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