Hot on the trail: Fundraising notes from the St. Pete City Council races

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Candidates for St. Petersburg City Council faced a Monday deadline for filing reports showing finance activity through May 31.

Inside these finance reports are some interesting tidbits of information. Here are a few data points which stood out.

In the District 2 race, Barclay Harless is still outraising Brandi Gabbard at a healthy clip, but they each have about the same amount of money cash-on-hand as the candidate qualifying period barrels to a conclusion. Harless added $4,890 to his campaign coffers last month, bringing his overall total to $36,545. He’s spent $16,259 of that so far. Gabbard’s raised $24,578, but spent just $7,501.

Harless is probably one of the few candidates on the local scene who can get Republican Brian Aungst and Democratic lobbyists Justin Day and Cesar Fernandez to contribute to his campaign.

Prominent local attorney Matt Weidner (prominent because he’s featured in a major non-fiction book about the Great Recession AND has his face is plastered on the back of seemingly every PSTA bus) is hedging his bets in District 2: he donated $250 to Gabbard in May, but also donated $500 to Harless.

District 4 incumbent Darden Rice‘s demonstrated once again what a strong fundraiser is she, adding $19,905 to her coffers. Rice’s has raised $73,389 to date.

In the ten-way District 6 race, (yes, you read that right, there are ten candidates running for this seat), Justin Bean remains the overall front-runner, but Gina Driscoll posted a $10,580 report after her first month on the trail.

Bean raised his money the right way, picking up a slew of $100 checks, including contributions from several in the young professional set such as Ryan Griffin, Josh Miller, and Nathan Stonecipher.

Jim Jackson, who picked up $2,565 in checks, received a $100 contribution from District 5 Councilmember Steve Kornell. Also interesting in Jackson’s report is that he paid the well-regarded local advertising firm MityMo for printing, so he’ll have them on his side.


District 8 incumbent Amy Foster did not hit the fundraising circuit too hard in her first official month back on the trail; she raised a quick $5,000 (including $500 from local lobbyist Todd Pressman) but spent zero dollars. No matter, her only opponent, Tharius Bethel, dropped out of the race on May 24.


Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.