Darden Rice shatters fundraising record with $95,000 collected for St. Pete City Council race

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Few things equate to success in politics more than excellent fundraising skills.

Community activist and three-time candidate Darden Rice collected an impressive $95,000 to date in her bid for St. Petersburg City Council District 4. Her campaign has now broken the record for the most raised by a City Council candidate, set by Councilmember Steve Kornell in 2009. At that time, Kornell raised about $71,000 for his campaign.

In the most recent reporting period, Rice added $20,290 for Aug. 23 to Sept. 13. Her largest contributor was an influx of $2,500 from the Florida Democratic Party, as well as $500 from the St. Petersburg Democratic Club, part of an increasing trend of major parties supporting non-partisan St. Petersburg city races.

In 81 separate donations, Rice continued receiving strong union support, with $500 checks from the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, Operating Engineers Union, IBEW Local 915, Pinellas Police Benevolent Association, the West Central Florida Federation of Labor and the Millwrights & Machinery Unions.  

Political Action Committee money has also been rolling in to Rice’s coffers, with checks from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and the progressive women’s group Ruth’s List, as well as a check from Betty Castor.

Rice’s opponent, former neighborhood association president Carolyn Fries, raised $3,225 during the same period, for a total of just under $14,000.

“Breaking the fundraising record for St. Pete City Council campaigns shows the strength of Darden Rice as a candidate,” Nick Janovsky, Rice’s campaign manager said in a statement reported in the Tampa Bay Times.

“The campaign has a broad appeal because of our common sense approach to getting results,” Janovsky added. “The record was set from setting goals, months of hard work, and Darden connecting with St. Pete residents.”

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.