Ed Montanari continues fundraising momentum in Q1, is closing the gap between incumbent Lindsay Cross

Cross maintains a significant cash-on-hand advantage, however.

St. Petersburg City Council member Ed Montanari outraised the incumbent Democrat he’s challenging in House District 60, by a little less than $5,000 in the first quarter.

Republican Montanari raised $40,135 in the period spanning January 1 through the end of March, between his campaign account and his political committee, Friends of Ed Montanari. Rep. Lindsay Cross raised $35,765 during the same period, between her campaign and political committee, Moving Pinellas Forward.

While Montanari has had momentum on his side since joining the race late last year — also outraising Cross in the fourth quarter of 2023 — Cross’ length of time in the race leaves her with more funds raised overall, and a significant cash on hand advantage.

Cross has more than $226,000 left in the bank — including $53,777 in her committee and nearly $178,000 in her campaign. Montanari has just $140,413 on hand, including $44,252 in his committee and $96,161 in his campaign.

While Cross has a significant cash advantage, Montanari continues to close the gap.

“Our campaign is energized and excited by the support we continue to receive from all over our district,” Montanari said.

“Voters are making their voices clear — we need proven leadership representing our families in the State House to solve the property insurance crisis, make our communities affordable again, and protect our waterways. I’m honored that so many residents support our message, and I look forward to continue working on the campaign trail.”

Cross’ campaign took in 103 contributions in the first quarter, averaging about $194 each. Montanari took in fewer donations, but his supporters dug deeper into their wallets, with 95 contributions averaging about $442 each.

Cross brought in 10 top contributions of $1,000, while Montanari brought in 18, and another $6,000 from the Republican Party of Florida, which is not bound by the $1,000 limit.

Montanari’s top campaign donors include the Tampa Bay Builders Association, former Rep. Scott Plakon’s Floridians For Economic Prosperity Committee, West Coast Automotive Group, Brandon Construction Company, Momentum Homes, Brent Sembler and others.

Top donors to Cross’ campaign include the pro-Democrat Building Stronger Communities committee, AT&T’s Florida PAC, the Domnick Cunningham & Whalen law firm, and several individuals.

Cross’ committee took in 36 contributions in the first quarter, averaging about $443 each. Top donors include automotive repair company S/R service with a $2,500 contribution, as well as pharmaceutical company Greentech USA, the Florida Accountability Project, lawyer Alan Wagner and Safety Harbor resident Timothy Dolan, all with $1,000 contributions.

Montanari’s committee raised just $4,150 in the first quarter, from eight contributions averaging about $519. Top donors were Cory Gaffney, who works in private equity, and Kevin Herzberg, a St. Petersburg accountant.

Cross’ committee spent less than $500 in the first quarter, all on transaction fees. Montanari’s committee spent nearly $9,000, mostly on finance consulting, advertising and accounting services.

Montanari’s campaign spent a little over $6,000 in the period, with more than $3,400 going to Supernova Digital for website and email hosting services, and more than $1,200 to Executive Center Suites in St. Pete for campaign office rent.

Cross’ campaign spent nearly $4,000, including $2,300 to Resonance for printing.

Democrats carry a slight voter registration advantage in the district, with just under 41,000 voters compared to just over 36,000 Republican voters, according to the most recent voter registration data from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections.

Cross won’t be an easy incumbent to defeat. She won her seat in the House by 8 percentage points over GOP candidate Audrey Henson in a year where Republicans were overwhelmingly successful in Florida, leading to supermajorities in both legislative chambers. And like Montanari, Henson was a moderate Republican.

Cross has served as a likable lawmaker who, even in disagreements, has maintained good relationships with Republican colleagues.

But Montanari has a GOP machine at his back, one empowered by years of gains within the party statewide, particularly in the last two years.

The Republican Party of Florida offered significant support to Henson two years ago in hopes of flipping the seat red — it was formerly held by Democrat Ben Diamond — and is likely to continue that support with Montanari.

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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