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Hot on the trail: Fundraising notes from the St. Pete municipal races – Vol. 3

in Peter/Top Headlines by

Candidates for Mayor and St. Petersburg City Council faced a July 15 deadline for filing reports showing finance activity from June 24 through July 7.

Inside these finance reports are some interesting tidbits of information. Here are a few data points which stood out.

— SPB previously reported about how Rick Baker has extended his fundraising lead over Rick Kriseman. How bad is Baker beating Kriseman in the fundraising department? Consider this: Baker’s campaign raised more money during the last two week from prominent donors in Jacksonville than Kriseman did overall.

Brandi Gabbard ($1,925 raised, $72 spent, $29,178 overall) picked up a $500 check from Natalie Brandes, the wife of powerful state Sen. Jeff Brandes and a $100 check from political consultant Todd Pressman. She also received a $1,000 check from the Pinellas Realtors, which makes sense since she’s one of their own.

— It was a quiet two weeks for Gabbard’s opponent, Barclay Harless ($650 raised, $2,675 spent, $43,095 overall), but he did pick up $500 from Southern Strategy Group, the largest governmental affairs firm in the state.

— One of the best thing to happen to Darden Rice‘s political career is having this tomato can of an opponent, Jerick Johnston, file to run against her, yet do nothing to pose a threat to her. She’s nearing $100,000 raised for her campaign. Interestingly, she spent $3,000 with Milman Reseacrh and Consulting. Since it’s doubtful she’s doing oppo work on Johnston, Rice is probably getting some insightful data about city politics and/or herself.

— During the two week period when many of his opponents did not raise or expend much, recently declared District 6 candidate Robert Blackmon was relatively active, raising $3,487 and spending $5,878.

— For as much noise as they make, it’s hard to take the Uluru-backed candidates very seriously because of their lack of fundraising. District 6 candidate Eritha”Akile” Brandis Caisson raised just $734 over the last two weeks — a time when she and the organization behind her were visible enough that they should have been able to translate the publicity they are receiving into some kind of support.

Jim Jackson‘s report shows a payment to Matthew Snyder for $1,500 for campaign management. Now, there’s a name we haven’t seen in a while.

— District 6 candidate Sharon Russ has not filed a fiancee report for the last two periods. In other words, here we go again…

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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