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.