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Ed Montanari pulls down record-breaking fundraising numbers

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete City Council candidate Ed Montanari has raised more than $45,000, according to sources close to his campaign. The total so far comes from more than 175 contributors.

Montanari has not posted First Quarter treasurer reports, but if the numbers reported to SaintPetersblog are accurate, it puts Montanari at already unprecedented fundraising levels and he still has about a month before reporting figures to the City Clerk.

To put it into perspective, City Council member Steve Kornell, who is seeking re-election to his District 5 seat and so far unopposed, has raised just under $27,000 as of the end of March.

District 7 candidate Lisa Wheeler Brown, who has drawn one challenger so far has raised just under $14,000.

Montanari’s contributions break every First Quarter report by any other candidate going back to 2009. Campaign reports prior to that are unavailable on the city’s website.

Even more historic, Montanari’s fundraising so far exceeds that of entire campaigns of everyone in recent campaigns except for City Council member Darden Rice, who raised nearly $120,000. Rice’s First Quarter brought in about $25,000.

If Montanari continues as strongly as he began, he’s on track to exceed Rice’s fundraising from 2013.

Without a treasurer report filed, it’s unclear how much of his booty Montanari has spent. However, without an opponent it’s likely his campaign is holding on to most of the funding until they have a challenger.

So far no other candidate has announced or even expressed interest in running against Montanari. Qualifying for the District 3 race begins June 9 and runs through June 22.

In addition to what appears to be record-breaking First Quarter fundraising numbers, Montanari has also gathered a strong showing of bipartisan support from the community. The incumbent for the seat he seeks, Bill Dudley, has endorsed Montanari. Dudley defeated Montanari narrowly eight years ago.

Montanari also has City Council vice chair Amy Foster backing him, as well as former Mayors Bill Foster and Rick Baker. Recently he earned support from State Rep. Kathleen Peters as well as St. Petersburg Free Clinic CEO Beth Houghton.

The local Police Benevolent Association has also endorsed Montanari.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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