Ken Welch raises $60K in two weeks, maintains mayoral fundraising lead

Welch and Blackmon are spending big as they prep for the General Election.

Former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch raised $60,458 in two weeks time, keeping him on top of the fundraising game in the St. Petersburg mayoral race.

That’s according to Welch’s latest campaign finance reports, which covers Aug. 28 through Sept. 10. In the same period, candidate Robert Blackmon collected $17,705.

The latest fundraising report comes after the pair ousted six other candidates in the August Primary Election and advanced to the General Election.

Welch reported 230 donors in the latest finance report, including 36 $1,000 donations from organizations such as St. Pete Development Company LLC, Greater Pinellas Dem Club PC, lobbyist firm Corcoran Partners, and Echelon Real Estate Services LLC.

Welch also received $1,000 from former opponent Darden Rice, who announced her support for Welch after being ousted in the Primary. Other $1,000 donors include Sen. Darryl Rouson, former St. Pete City Council member Karl Nurse, and former U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Australia and Nauru, Mel Sembler.

Other local politicos who donated to Welch include Pinellas County Commissioners Pat Gerard, who donated $500, and Rene Flowers, who gave $100.

As for spending, Welch’s campaign dished out $21,667 in the most recent two week period. Around $10,000 went to consulting services, slightly more than $5,000 for TV advertising, $2,000 to processing fees and just under $2,000 to printing.

Welch also has a political committee, Pelican PAC, which provides monthly finance reports. In August, the PAC raised $92,838.

Between his campaign and political committee, Welch has raised a total of $664,866 and has spent $562,072, leaving him with $102,794 on hand.

Blackmon’s campaign reported 44 donors in the same period, including 11 $1,000 donations from Enwright Rimes Consulting, political consultant Jim Rines, St. Pete Downtown Partnership CEO Jason Mathis, and real estate investor Kenneth Heretick.

Blackmon’s campaign spent $8,641, with about $3,500 on printing and mailers, $2,500 going to text communications, $1,200 on digital advertising and the remainder on processing fees.

Blackmon also has a political committee, Prosperous St. Petewhich raised $33,400 in August.

So far, Blackmon has raised a total of $364,435 between his campaign and affiliated committee and has spent $324,856, leaving him with $39,579 on hand heading into the next period.

Despite lower fundraising totals, Blackmon proved to have the most bang for his buck in the Primary Election, spending about $3 less per vote than Welch.

The two will go head to head in the upcoming General Election on Nov. 2. Both are running to replace Mayor Rick Kriseman, who is leaving office due to term limits and has endorsed Welch as his successor.

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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