Fasano holds big fundraising lead
By SAUNDRA AMRHEIN, Times Staff Writer
A few weeks before the state deadline for political hopefuls to declare their candidacy, some are off to the races building a war chest while others still are getting out of the gate.
Wednesday was the filing deadline for contributions gathered between April 1 and June 30.
In the Pasco County Commission race, Commissioner Steve Simon is leaving nothing to chance in his bid for re-election to District 4. He's way out front with $25,025, even though he has no opponent so far.
"You can't possibly do anything else but anticipate an opponent," he said. "It's not a luxury you have if you want to be prepared."
Republican Commissioner Pat Mulieri, seeking re-election in District 2, is listed as having received zero contributions. But she only filed to run on July 3, three days after the reporting period ended. She said she has raised about $3,000 so far.
Her opponent, Democrat Amye Cox, is listed as having raised $345.44.
The other big fundraiser was state Rep. Mike Fasano. The New Port Richey Republican had raised almost $180,000 by June 30 for his bid for Senate District 11. His contributions began trickling in about 18 months ago.
"We started very early and worked very hard," Fasano said. His support comes from around the state, but he said a recent fundraiser at Spartan Manor netted $17,000.
His opponents, so far, have raised far less.
Fellow Republican Janet Henderson, a Dunedin city commissioner, is listed as having raised $26,866.
Former Pasco County Sheriff Lee Cannon, a Democrat, raised $7,125. Fellow Democrat Joseph Mattingly is listed as having raised $200.
Cannon said he wasn't disappointed at all with the amount he's raised, considering he only filed to run last month.
He's building on his base in Pasco while meeting with business and party leaders in Pinellas County, he said. He's also received help from the state party in forming a campaign plan.
"They've jumped in with both feet," he said of the party. "But you can't rely on the party entirely. You have to help yourself."
In the race for state House District 46, incumbent Rep. Heather Fiorentino, a Republican, is listed as having raised $33,725. Her only opponent, Jon Kueny, a Libertarian, is listed as having received no contributions.
In the race for state House District 45, Dunedin Mayor Tom Anderson, a Republican, is listed as having $28,391 in contributions through March 31. Anderson said he mailed the updates Monday, postmarked in time before the deadline.
His total contributions by the end of June are around $41,500, he said.
Since his contributions are from local residents, he's proud of that figure.
"We have very strong local support," he said.
Kevin Jensen, a Democratic candidate, is listed as having raised $2,840. John Doherty, a Libertarian, and Michael Henkel, a Green Party candidate, are listed as having raised zero dollars.
John Legg, a Republican opponent with experience in Tallahassee working for Fiorentino, is listed as having raised $22,115. He said more money has been committed as he nears the September primary. Meanwhile, the important thing, he said, is reaching out to people.
"Money is not the only issue," he said.
-- Saundra Amrhein covers Pasco County government. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6244, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6244. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111