Darden Rice breaks fundraising record (again) with $110K in St. Pete District 4 campaign

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With less than two weeks before November 5, Darden Rice continues breaking fundraising records for the most money raised — and spent — of any City Council race in St. Petersburg history.

Rice added another $10,465 from Sept. 28-Oct. 11, according to recently released campaign financing records. This makes a total of $110,225 overall in donations to the three-time candidate for her District 4 run.

Financial Service Company AMSCOT, Stonewall Democrats, Community Health Care and three union groups associated with the Florida Service Employees International Union each gave $500 checks to Rice, who is a PSTA board member and former president of the Pinellas chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Tech Data CIO John Tonnison, as well as former Pinellas Sheriff and state House Rep. Everett Rice, also donated $500 each to Rice.

Rice’s opponent, Carolyn Fries, raised $2,468 during the same period. The past treasurer and president of the Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association collected a total of just over $17,800. Of Fries’ 24 individual donations during the reporting period, the largest was a $500 check from local entrepreneur Mark Swanson.

This round, Rice spent $4,897 in expenditures, part of her record-breaking $95,845 campaign price tag. Rice spent more so far than the entire haul of the last City Council record holder, Steve Kornell, who collected $71,000 for his 2009 District 5 bid.

In contrast, Fries spent $154 in two-week reporting period, for a total of $11,728. 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.