Democrat Pat Gerard, who is running for the Pinellas County Commission District 2 seat now held by Norm Roche, is coming in second in fundraising behind term-limited Republican state Rep. Ed Hooper.
However, with April fundraising numbers pending, Gerard — the seven-year Largo mayor, and city commissioner for six years before that — could get a chance to catch up to the veteran state lawmaker.
Currently, Gerard has nearly $66,000 in contributions through March 31, very different from the $111K Hooper collected for his campaign so far.
Nevertheless, April puts a (slightly) different spin in the fundraising race.
Hooper’s fundraising skills are apparent, but as a sitting House representative, Florida law prohibits him from fundraising during the 60-day legislative session — between March 4 and May 2. He recently filed an April report with zero donations.
This gives the Democrat a chance to pull even, or at the very least, close the gap considerably. Of course, a $45K deficit is not easy and quite unlikely, especially since Gerard has already spent $4,775 in April, with $15,739 in total expenditures — more than twice that of Hooper, a well-known GOP legislator. So add another $8,000 to that gap.
As for incumbent Roche, what seemed to be a sign of life in March — $4,000 in donations — dropped significantly in April. His re-election effort only netted $325 last month; with former St. Petersburg City Council candidate David McKalip giving $250 and former Pinellas Republican state committee member Tony DiMatteo chipping in $50.