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Rick Baker committee raises big, spends bigger in July

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Former and possibly future St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker raised nearly $85,000 for his political committee last month according to finance reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

The committee, “Seamless Florida,” raised the money from 21 donors, and much of the money came from local business leaders, including Phares Risser III and Terry McCarthy who each gave $10,000 in July.

Also on the donor roll last month were Boston Finance Group, Agora Edge, former U.S. Ambassador John Rood, and Florida Leadership Committee, the political committee of Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala.

Baker’s committee also spent nearly $270,000 last month, mainly on the airwaves, in the studio and through the mail as primary election day fast approaches.

More than $100,000 of that money went to Maryland-based Mentzer Media Group for ad buys, while Gainesville-based Data Targeting Inc. picked up more than $50,000 for direct mail campaigns and St. Pete’s Poli Solutions Consulting got $28,000 for voter contact and outreach.

Heading into August, Seamless Florida had about $190,000 on hand.

Baker is running in a six-way race for mayor, and recent polls show him with about 46 percent support among likely voters. His main competitor, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, trails him by about 7 points, with the next-highest candidate polling at around  4 percent.

The mayoral primary is scheduled for Aug. 29 and assuming no candidate gets a majority of the vote, the first- and second-place finishers will duke it out on the November ballot.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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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