Robert Blackmon raises $100K in first two weeks of St. Pete mayoral campaign

Blackmon, Robert - 2
Blackmon is trying to catch up to opponents Darden Rice and Ken Welch.

St. Petersburg City Council member Robert Blackmon raised $100,000 in his first two weeks of campaigning for Mayor, he announced Thursday.

“I’ve centered my campaign for St. Pete Mayor around giving the people their voice back,” Blackmon said in a statement. “I’m humbled and gratified to see the outpouring of support from residents committed to a St. Pete for All.”

Blackmon said most of his contributions came from city residents. He filed his first campaign finance report with the city Tuesday, which reflected only donations collected in May, totaling $21,500.

Blackmon joined the race on May 25. He’s running on five priorities, including creating a vision for Tropicana Field site development and the Tampa Bay Rays, protecting neighborhoods and the environment, fighting crime, and embracing open, ethical government.

He also pledges to help small businesses create more affordable housing options so teachers, firefighters, and police officers can live in the city they serve.

“While I’ve been tending to the people’s business on City Council, my opponents have spent years fundraising for their campaigns,” Blackmon said, referring to his colleague Darden Rice and former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch. “There’s a lot of hard work ahead, but reaching this milestone so quickly will give us the ability to compete everywhere.

Blackmon is hosting an official campaign launch at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Ruby’s Elixir, at 15 Third St. N.

Still, he has a lot of ground to cover. Rice leads the field in fundraising, with nearly $198,000 raised for her official campaign and another $358,000 in her affiliated political committee, Friends of Darden Rice.

But Rice began her voter contact program earlier than any other candidate in the race, which has burned through some of her cash. As of the most recent reports, Rice has about $374,000 of her funds remaining.

Welch, meanwhile, has raised $123,000 in his campaign and $159,000 in his affiliated political committee, Pelican PAC. He has about $244,000 remaining.

As of the end of May, Blackmon spent less than $300 on credit card processing fees but retained less than $20,000 in the bank. Blackmon’s political committee, Prosperous St. Petersburg, has not yet reported any contributions or expenditures. It was not established until this month, which means financial reports won’t be filed until next month.

His May finance report showed Blackmon’s campaign brought in 15 top-dollar $1,000 contributions. Those donors include the Young Floridians for Opportunity PAC, which promotes conservative, business-minded candidates like Blackmon, LEMA Construction, Hartney Realty & Development, Carolee Blackmon, among others.

Other conservative donors include Doreen Caudell, a Republican former Clearwater City Council member, St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees member Deveron Gibbons, and Pinellas County Commissioner Kathleen Peters.

In all, Blackmon received 38 individual contributions.

As of yet, neither Rice nor Welch turned in updated financial reports covering May activity.

The candidates all face off in the citywide Primary Election on Aug. 24. The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 2 General Election.

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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