The Uhuru-backed candidate who is running on an anti-gentrification platform and calling for reparations had been seen as something of a long shot against incumbent Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, but the surge in funding water that sentiment down with some serious campaign buying power.
This week’s report wasn’t quite the shock as the previous, but it still showed her keeping pace with her opponent.
The latest campaign finance reports filed Friday document August 3-9 contributions and expenditures. Fundraising between the two candidates were separated by just $20, with Cainion coming out just on top.
Wheeler-Bowman has still raised more overall — $26,853 compared to $20,651 — but Cainon has more cash on hand.
Of the total funds raised, Wheeler-Bowman has spent more than $24,000, leaving her with less than $3,000 in the bank. Cainion has spent about half her funds, leaving a solid $10,000 left in her campaign coffers.
Again, fundraising is not the only indicator of a successful campaign, but it’s a huge benefit to have cash to blow, boosting name recognition by purchasing opportunities to reach voters in their mailboxes or on radio or television.
Cainion used more than $4,000 recently on a printing buy that looks to be a fairly substantial mail blitz. Meanwhile, Wheeler-Bowman has spent the bulk of her money on consulting service from Blue Ticket Consulting locally and through Street Smartz Consulting in Jacksonville, a company that specializes in direct mail.
The two are not the only candidates in the race. Two others, Sarah Elizabeth Moore and Chico Cromartie, are also running, but neither are raising funds, which lends little credibility to their campaigns.
Given the dynamics of the race, it’s safe to assume that both Wheeler-Bowman and Cainion are gearing up for a head to head matchup against each other in November when the entire city will cast a ballot. All four candidates will appear on the August 27 ballot open only to voters in the south St. Pete District 7.
Most St. Pete political insiders are still favoring Wheeler-Bowman, but Cainion’s fundraising surge this month is making the race interesting.
Unlike Tampa, the top two vote-getters in the August election are guaranteed to go to the November election. In Tampa, candidates can win outright in the earlier election if they get more than 50 percent of the vote.