The race to take over termed-out Republican state Sen. Garrett Richter’s District 23 seat was already setting up to be a hard- fought battle between Republican state Reps. Matt Hudson and Kathleen Passidomo, and the May entry of Naples businessman Gary Price looks likely to produce an even more contentious three-way primary.
Campaign finance numbers for May show Hudson is still firmly in the lead with $240,600 in contributions, though his May haul of $2,010 looks anemic in comparison to Passidomo’s $23,825 and Price’s impressive $64,250 in his debut month.
Price, who detailed his campaign platform in a SaintPetersBlog exclusive in May, got maximum donations from 62 contributors. The list includes a handful of conservative PACs and local donors, though Price also drew contributions from Clearwater Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala, who cut checks for $1,000 from himself, his company and his Florida Leadership Committee PAC.
Passidomo’s May contributions were offset by $13,683 in expenditures, mostly for mailers and consulting fees, leaving her with $91,000 in the bank. Hudson’s burn rate is low by comparison. With a total of $9,012 in expenditures since he filed, he has $231,588 cash on hand. Price has $68,100 on hand, including $5,000 in loans to his campaign.
If Price carries any fundraising momentum through June, he could make up a lot of ground due to the special legislative session halting contributions for both Passidomo and Hudson.