Rene Flowers continues strong fundraising in Pinellas Commission contest

Rene Flowers Headshot 2
Wengay Newton's money is tied up in a House race.

Pinellas County Commission candidate Rene Flowers continues to hold a campaign finance lead in her bid to replace Ken Welch in District 7, but it’s on a technicality.

Rep. Wengay Newton hasn’t posted any fundraising activity in the race, but that’s because he’s barred from raising money during Legislative Session, which has been ongoing throughout the entire month of February, the period covered in the most recent reports due Tuesday.

However, Newton has raised more than $41,000 in his House District 70 race, of which he still has a little less than half on hand. Newton announced earlier this year he would not seek reelection to his House District and instead run for Pinellas County Commission.

He’ll likely be able to transfer most, if not all of his funds from that race to the local campaign. Candidates can transfer funds from a state race to a county race as long as they notify donors and give them an opportunity to request a refund.

Meanwhile, Flowers has raised a total of $17,480 in her bid so far including a $2,465 haul in February.

Of that she’s spent $2,718, leaving her with a little less than $15,000 in the bank. That would put her only about $5,000 behind Newton in cash on hand if he transfers all of his funds from his state race to the County Commission campaign.

Most of Flowers’ contributions were low-dollar. Only five donors kicked in more than $100. That includes former Democratic Lt. Governor nominee Chris King who chipped in $479.70 and the National Properties Trust, which donated $500.

So far, two other candidates are also running in the District 7 race. All of the candidates so far are Democrats. The district leans heavily in favor of Democrats.

NAACP St. Petersburg President Maria Scruggs entered the race in January. As of the end of February she had raised $2,555 including $1,855 in February. Of that, she’s spent $852, leaving her with less than $2,000 to spend.

Her latest report showed support from former St. Pete Police Chief Goliath Davis III and former St. Petersburg Housing Authority head Tony Love, who Scruggs supporter during his controversial ouster from the affordable housing group.

Former Rep. Frank Peterman Jr. is also running. He has not yet filed February finance reports, but raised just over $5,000 as of the end of January.

Candidates face an 11:59 p.m. deadline Tuesday to file reports.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

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 [email protected]


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