St. Petersburg Mayoral candidate Rick Kriseman is clearly shifting his fundraising efforts into high gear by becoming the first to reach the $200,000 mark.
Since the Aug. 27 citywide primary, Kriseman amassed another $59,000 in contributions, along with another $7,000 of in-kind donations, based on recently released financial reports. This brings his total campaign contributions to nearly $215,000.
In contrast, incumbent Mayor Bill Foster collected only about half that amount — $29,440 — to bring his total so far to $178,113.
Kriseman continued his run of labor support in the Aug. 28 to Sept. 13 filing period, with $500 checks from Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 123 in Tampa, the West Central Florida Federation of Labor, the Pinellas County Teachers Association, and Pinellas Coalition for Public Schools. He also received $500 checks from the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Millwrights and Machiner Erectors Union.
City Council chair Karl Nurse, Pinellas Stonewall PAC and the St. Petersburg Democratic Club also chipped in $500 checks each.
Foster’s strong support from law enforcement continued, by means of $500 checks from the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, the Coastal Florida PBA and the Pinellas PBA Political Action Committee.
In this round of fundraising, Foster had a large turnout from the American Strategic Insurance Group, with checks coming from nine different organizations based in its recently opened North St. Petersburg complex, as well as one from CEO John Auer, for a total of $5,000. The ASI complex was one of the high-profile projects Foster had publicly touted as part of $500 million in new construction for St. Petersburg.
One thing that has set apart this supposedly non-partisan mayoral campaign was the influx of cash from the state political parties. In response to Kriseman’s outpouring of support from the Florida Democratic Party, Foster is continuing to get assistance from Republicans. This time, the Republican Party of Florida gave the mayor $300 of in-kind donations for “research.” GOP State Sen. Jack Latvala’s consulting firm also gave Foster $500.
Although various polls show the two candidates anywhere from neck-and-neck to Foster running as much as 10 points behind Kriseman, it is the mayor who had outspent his rival in the two-week September reporting period.
Foster spent almost everything he collected in that time — $26,326 — for a total cost of $138,141 overall. This leaves him with $39,700 in his war chest.
Kriseman spent only about $8,100 in September, for a total price tag of $154,381 so far in his campaign. His full cash-on-hand now stands at just over $60,000.