Darden Rice maintains cash lead in St. Pete Mayor’s race

Ken Welch dropped some serious cash.

St. Petersburg City Council member Robert Blackmon came out on top in the latest round of finance reports for the city’s mayoral race, but fellow Council member Darden Rice is still the top fundraiser overall.

Blackmon raised $148,155 between his latest campaign report, which covers June 19 through July 2, and his political committee’s June report. His campaign raised $46,005 June 19-July 2 and $102,150 in  all of June for his associated political committee, Prosperous St. Petersburg. He kept his spending low, only dishing out about $3,590 from his campaign during the most recent reporting period and $3,442 from his PAC in June. 

Rice had the second best haul of the period. She collected $48,035 between her campaign and her associated political committee, Friends of Darden Rice, in June. Rice spent more than she raised in the most recent reports, doling out $48,753 from her campaign and $7,590 from her PAC.

Restauranteur Pete Boland trailed Rice with $46,010 raised between his campaign and PAC, St. Pete First, in the same time frame. Boland spent $11,428 from his campaign, but only $5 from his PAC.

The fourth highest fundraiser this period was former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch. Welch collected a combined $37,411 in the same reports with his campaign and his political committee, Pelican PAC. Welch spent the most of all the candidates this time, dishing out $47,633 from his campaign and $34,271 from Pelican PAC, concentrating most of his spending on campaign consulting services.

Of his 94 campaign contributors this report, Blackmon collected about 30 $1,000 donations. Those who dropped $1,000 to Blackmon’s campaign include the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors PAC, Marina Bay Development IV and former Mayor Rick Baker.

Rice reported 47 donors to her campaign, including state Senate candidate Eunic Ortiz, who gave $250, as well as 10 $1,000 donations, including from scooter company Razor USA.

Boland reported 38 campaign contributors, including 13 $1,000 donations from businesses like Wagzone Inc., Courigans Irish Pub and St. Pete Aviation Services.

Welch, despite having a lower finance report this period, had the highest number of donors — 101. Welch received only five $1,000 drops, including from Sheraton Sand Key Resort.

Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long also dropped $250 on both Rice’s and Welch’s campaigns.

Despite being the runner-up in fundraising this time around, Rice is still far ahead of other candidates with cash on hand.

Rice, who between her campaign and PAC has raised a total of $664,808, will enter this next period with $368,820 on hand.

Behind Rice for cash on hand are Welch and Blackmon, who are nearly tied in available spending money between their respective campaigns and PACs — Welch has $183,300 on hand, and Blackmon $184,634.

Boland is left with $50,185 in his pocket, having raised $67,935 since launching his campaign.

Former state Rep. Wengay Newton, although in the top four among candidates in recent polling, only brought in $3,430 for his campaign this period, bringing his total raised to just $28,214. He also spent $3,276, and will enter the next period with just $6,616 on hand.

University of South Florida St. Pete student Michael Ingram reported raising $2,970 this period, including $2,100 in self-funding. Marketer Marcile Powers reported $145, and Torry Nelson has yet to file a report, which was due July 9.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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