Rick Kriseman tops $263K in donations for St. Pete mayor’s race

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With less than a month to go until the November 5 St. Petersburg municipal elections, Rick Kriseman’s fundraising train shows no signs of running out of steam.  

Adding another $22,690 in donations from Sept. 28-Oct. 11, the former State Representative topped $263,000 in campaign cash in his bid to become the city’s mayor.

Kriseman, who currently polls a few points ahead of Mayor Bill Foster, seems to firmly lead in fundraising with $263,443, according to recently released campaign financing reports. As for incumbent Mayor Bill Foster, we will have to wait to see how his money looks during the home stretch. His most recent financials are still pending, due by the end of this week.

In this fundraising round, lobbyists and consulting firms made a prominent appearance in the Kriseman campaign, with $500 checks from groups including the Southern Strategy Group of Tampa, Tallahassee-based Government Services Group, Sunrise Consulting and Lisa Blair, CEO of Meridian Community Services Group. TECO Energy and Miami’s Christopher Findlater — a well-known deep-pocketed Democratic donor — also  chipped in $500 checks each.

Of course, the Pandora’s Box of partisan politics is now wide open in the St. Petersburg elections. The Florida Democratic Party contributed another $2,000 to Kriseman for employee salaries.  

Kriseman’s campaign also made large expenditures during the two-week reporting period, spending $60,036 — more than $54,000 of that going to media buys and advertising. The mayoral competition has now cost Kriseman almost $240,000 to date, leaving him with cash-on-hand of $23,884. 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.