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Deborah Figgs-Sanders continues fundraising surge in St. Pete City Council race

While the funding gap is narrow, Figgs-Sanders has the momentum.

Deborah Figgs-Sanders continues to lead the pack of candidates vying to replace Steve Kornell in his south St. Pete City Council district, according to the most recent campaign finance reports available.

Figgs-Sanders has raised more than $15,000 so far including nearly $3,200 during the first three weeks of June.

Figgs-Sanders’ closest funding competition is Beth Connor who has raised nearly $13,000. While the funding gap is narrow, Figgs-Sanders has the momentum. Connor raised just $2,300 in the latest reporting period.

Trenia Cox is in the third place spot with about $7,200 raised to date including $788 during the most recent reporting period. 

Anne Hirsch maintained a steady stream of fundraising, bringing in $1,603 in the first three weeks of June. That’s about $100 less than she raised during the entire month of May and brings her fundraising total to  $3,331.

The final candidate in the race, Philip Garrett, hasn’t raised a dime. He donated $160 to his campaign and spent $150 of that on the city’s filing fee.

The District 5 race to represent voters in south St. Pete is the most crowded of the four races on the August and November ballots. The district is also one of the most diverse.

It includes affluent neighborhoods in the county’s southernmost point like the Pink Streets and Bahama Shores, middle income areas in between the two and in Lakewood Estates. It also includes some low-income areas around Lake Maggiore. The district is a diverse mix of white and African American residents. 

The District five race reflects that diversity. Only two white candidates are running. Though one of those, Hirsch, is running as an Uhuru solidarity candidate on a platform that demands reparations for African Americans. 

Figgs-Sanders and Connor appear to be fighting it out for the top spot. But Connor is spending more aggressively. Even though she’s spent less, $2,300 compared to Figgs-Sanders’ nearly $3,000, Connor is shelling out cash for both a campaign consultant, Meagan Salisbury of Blue Ticket Consulting, and in the latest reporting period she spent $1,500 on palm cards for the campaign.

Figgs-Sanders’ spending has so far been on administrative costs

Connor received contributions in the most recent campaign finance reporting period from another City Council candidate in the west St. Pete District 1, Scott Orsini

That $50 contribution may be more trouble than it’s worth. News broke ahead of the Fourth of July holiday of Orsini tweeting messages containing offensive messages about women and the LGBTQ community. 

Connor also received a $500 contribution from former City Council member Karl Nurse who also donated to Figgs-Sanders, but only gave her $100.

Hirsch’s contributions are largely small donations less than $10 from supporters of the Uhuru movement.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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