Rob Panepinto’s fundraising cools, Jerry Demings does not in Orange County mayor’s race

Pete Clarke, Jerry Demings, Rob Panepinto

Orange County mayoral candidate Rob Panepinto‘s campaign fundraising softened during the two-week period ending July 6 while his chief opponent Jerry Demings continued on a fairly robust chase for cash as they and Pete Clarke head into the final few weeks of the summer campaign.

Panepinto, a Winter Park entrepreneur whose campaign account surged early with a strong start last fall and with a steady flow of supporters’ money well into the spring, raised only $8,508 for his official campaign and nothing in his independent committee, Vision Orange County.

Demings, the Orange County sheriff who has been steadily outpacing Panepinto in fundraising since mid-winter, attracted $31,375 into his official campaign and another $4,500 into his independent political committee, Orange County Citizens for Smart Growth.

As a result, as of July 6, Demings had raised $1,169,000 overall and still had more than $1 million left to spend, with a three-way election set for August 28, and a possible runoff set for Nov. 6, if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote in August. Panepinto had raised a total of $680,351 in his two accounts, and had $315,000 left.

The third candidate, Orange County Commissioner Clarke, has never expected to keep pace with Demings and Panepinto in raising money. But he has maintained his ground game and popularity would make up much of the difference. Clarke raised just $1,375 in the two-week reporting period. He’s now collected about $303,000 overall, including $200,000 of his own money that he lent to his campaign. Clarke has not been spending on the pace of Demings or Panepinto, and so he finished the period with $238,000 left to spend.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


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