If no one emerges by 5 p.m. Monday evening as a qualified candidate for St. Pete City Council District 3, Ed Montanari will emerge as the council member-elect to replace outgoing Bill Dudley.
As of Monday afternoon Montanari seems to have it in the bag. No one has filed paperwork to run against him and there hasn’t been a single whisper of potential challengers.
Local Democrats have been rumored to be looking, but appear to have come up empty-handed in finding a willing and viable opponent to take on the well funded and popularly backed Montanari.
If a brave challenger were to emerge in the final hours of qualifying Monday, they would face an uphill battle.
Montanari has reportedly accrued more than $45,000 and those numbers were leaked to SaintPetersblog nearly one month ago. The figure is likely to be much higher by now.
Montanari has not yet filed a treasurer’s report with the City Clerk’s office.
He also has a wide berth of support from the community. Two former mayors are behind him – Bill Foster and Rick Baker. City Council member Amy Foster endorsed him and serves on his host committee despite the fact that she’s a Democrat and he’s a Republican.
The council member Montanari will likely replace has also endorsed him despite Dudley defeating Montanari eight years ago.
St. Petersburg state Rep. Kathleen Peters is backing Montanari, as is St. Pete Free Clinic CEO Beth Haughton.
Montanari also nabbed a key endorsement from the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.
With that kind of head start on campaigning it seems too daunting a task for someone to battle against at this point. But, then, you never know.