Democratic Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard and her Republican opponent Brian Scott have each spent near the same amount since launching their respective campaigns. The two are only separated by $14,000 in total spending, with Gerard having the slight upper hand.
Such close expenditure numbers only two weeks out from the General Election shows just how tight the race is leading up to Election Day. The incumbent Gerard has so far dished out $284,639 to maintain her District 2 seat on the Commission, while Scott has spent $270,505 in hopes of unseating the incumbent.
In the first two weeks of October, Gerard spent $78,149 between her campaign and affiliated political committee, Friends of Pat Gerard. However, she didn’t spend most of the money on campaign costs, but rather through transfers to her political committee and the state Democratic Party.
Gerard’s campaign account transferred $31,000 to her affiliated political committee, while her PC transferred $44,000 to the Florida Democratic Party. Gerard did most of her campaign spending in late September, when her campaign spent $110,580, nearly all on voter communication services.
As for Scott, during the first two weeks of October, the newcomer spent $51,504 between his campaign and affiliated committee, Friends of Brian Scott.
His largest expenditure, like Gerard, was $43,000 sent to his respective political party, the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee. Scott also paid former St. Petersburg City Council candidate Bobbie Shay Lee $5,000 for political consulting, as well as $2,000 on financial consulting services.
As for fundraising numbers, the pair are also well-matched. Gerard has amassed a total of $334,085 between her two finance sources (with her transfer excluded from the total), while Scott has raised $338,288.
In October, Gerard has so far collected $20,745 from about 80 contributors. Gerard received $1,000 donations from the local Plumbers & Pipefitters Union and Ana Cruz, former Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party.
Scott raised $21,115 in October so far, from about 35 donors, including $1,000 donations from several Realtor PACs and several automotive dealers and groups.
Gerard will start the final stretch of the General Election with $80,446 cash on hand, while Scott will continue with $67,783.
Gerard has held the District 2 seat since 2014. Prior to her service on the County Commission, she was the Mayor of Largo. Scott started his race against the incumbent after winning District 2’s Republican Primary, collecting 66% of the vote to opponent Debbie Buschman’s 34%.
For years, the GOP has been looking to retake the district after Gerard flipped the seat blue upon her initial election, replacing former Commissioner Norm Roche. Roche lost the Republican Primary that year to now-Sen. Ed Hooper, who lost to Gerard in the General Election.
District 2 is an at large seat covering northwest Pinellas County, but it is voted on countywide.