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Pinellas GOP outraises local Dems, yet both have same amount of cash on hand. In other words, where’s the money, JJ?

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
For the first time since 1996, the Florida Democratic Party outraised the Republican Party of Florida. Unfortunately for Pinellas Democrats, that trend did not extend to the local level, as the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee still crushes the Pinellas Democratic Party.

For the last quarter:

Pinellas GOP $29,891
Pinellas Democrats $22,700

Through June 30, the parties have raised:

Pinellas GOP $96,598
Pinellas Democrats $33,882

But, the Pinellas Republican Executive Committee is blowing through money like I do at Derby Lane.

Expenditures through June 30:

Pinellas GOP $86,677
Pinellas Democrats $24,223

Contributions minus expenditures:

Pinellas GOP $9,911
Pinellas Democrats $9,669

The drain on party resources has to be a point of embarrassment for PCREC Chair JJ Beyrouti, not that he’s been pinching pennies. He’s still taking his monthly $800 “allowance” despite the fact that the party would be broke if it weren’t for a handful of well-heeled donors…donors who are reported to be concerned about Beyrouti’s spending patterns.

Beyrouti authorized spending $7,690 on audio-visuals for the Lincoln Day Dinner. At 300 guests, the PCREC could make each person a $19.99 DVD filled with pictures of Sarah Palin and still have money left over.

What’s particularly troubling to Beyrouti’s detractors is his authorizing $4,000 in payments to consultant Jim Dobyns, the former campaign manager of left-winger Ed Helm. Dobyns, who oversaw the Dick Morris event fiasco, is also the Pinellas Coordinator for Marco Rubio.

Several local Republicans who support Charlie Crist, including one of JJ’s biggest donors, were very disappointed to learn that Beyrouti was essentially underwriting one of Rubio’s operatives.

Many of these same detractors also wondered why the party was so far off its previous fundraising efforts. Comparing the party’s current balance sheet with where it stood at this point in the last election cycle clearly shows that the party is worse off:

Contributions through June 30, 2007: $132,342
Contributions through June 30, 2009: $96,598

Contributions minus expenditures as of July 1, 2007: $58,217
Contributions minus expenditures as of July 1, 2009: $9,911

And don’t blame the poor fundraising on a post-Obama drop-off. Florida is still a Republican state, Pinellas is still a Republican county. The GOP controls the constitutional offices, the legislative delegation and most of the municipal governments. If the economy is to blame, then the PCREC should be cutting its expenses.

What the PCREC is suffering from is poor leadership. But for a Democrat like me, that’s fine by me.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.

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