With big GOP check, Bill Foster adds $29K to campaign; St. Pete mayor’s race now over $500K

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The St. Petersburg mayoral election has now topped a cool half-million dollars, between fundraising for incumbent Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman, according to the latest financial numbers.  

In the two-week period of Sept. 28-Oct. 11, Foster added $28,875 to his campaign. The incumbent — who is currently running about six points behind in the polls — now reports receipts of $237,116.

Combined with Kriseman’s $263,443 in contributions, the money for the city’s top job stands at $500,559, all for a job that pays around $158,000 a year for a four-year term.   

Helping Foster reach this milestone was the Florida Republican Party, who came through in a big way in the form of a $13,850 check, in addition to $300 from the St. Petersburg Republican Club.

Amongst all the talk of rising flood insurance premiums due to the recently enacted Biggert-Waters Act, insurance interests also made their appearance in the mayor’s race, as Foster received $1,000 from Wright National Flood Insurance Company. The St. Petersburg-based insurer is the largest source of federal flood insurance (NFIP) policies in the U.S.

Richard Gonzmart, president of the Columbia Restaurant Group, Tampa’s TECO Energy and the Maher Chevrolet dealership each chipped in $500. State Rep. Kathleen Peters also gave Foster a check for $200.

During the October reporting period, Foster went on a virtual “supermarket sweep” of major media buys for video, brochures and direct mail, totaling $44,127. It brings his entire campaign cost to $184,829, leaving $52,287 cash-on-hand, compared to Kriseman’s $23,884.

An indication of  how far the two candidates are willing go to lead Florida’s fourth largest city — both campaigns have spent a combined total of just under $425,000 to get the job. With only 10 days left in the race, that number will surely rise over the $500,000 mark as well.

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.