Seven open seats make Pinellas rich with drama
By AARON SHAROCKMAN
Published April 12, 2006
Move over, Angelo Cappelli in St. Petersburg and Peter Nehr in Tarpon Springs. A new Republican fundraising champ is emerging in Pinellas County. His name is Rod Jones, he's running to succeed Republican Everett Rice, representing the beaches in House District 54, and it looks like his dad's contacts are paying off big time.
The son of state Sen. Dennis Jones reports raising more than $55,000 in the first three months of 2006, bringing his total to more than $100,000 in nine months.
Thanks to his dad's connections (Sen. Jones is chairman of the Regulated Industries committee), much of Rod Jones' donations came from outside Pinellas County. Political action committees contributed heavily to Jones, as did pari-mutuel interests and fellow chiropractors.
The award for most creative campaign spender goes to Republican Seminole Mayor Dottie Reeder, who is running to succeed Leslie Waters in state House District 51.
Reeder spent more than $5,200 on a Segway - one of those funky, two-wheeled, battery-powered "human transporters.'' She uses it to campaign door to door, saving money on gas and getting plenty of attention.
"People are very curious about it, and, of course, the children think it's the coolest,'' Reeder said.
With seven open legislative seats, several of them competitive between Democrats and Republicans, Pinellas is ground zero for politics this year, and politicos across the state are scouring the newly released campaign finance reports for trends. Other trends:
State Rep. Frank Farkas, R-St. Petersburg, outraised state Rep. Kim Berfield, R-Clearwater, this year in their race to succeed Jim Sebesta in the state Senate. But thanks to lots of help from antichiropractor doctors across the state, Berfield is still leading Farkas in fundraising.
In the state House District 50 race to succeed Berfield, Republican Nancy Riley raised nearly twice as much as her Republican rival Ed Hooper.
In the state House District 52 race to succeed Farkas, Cappelli continues to set the pace, significantly outraising all his opponents, with another $27,000.
The details for the first quarter of 2006:
State Senate District 11
(To succeed Jim Sebesta, R-St. Petersburg)
--Kim Berfield-R: $57,055, for a total of more than $374,000 (spent $58,440)--
--Frank Farkas-R: $69,560, for a total of $317,000 (spent $115,000)
--Charlie Justice-D: $24,175, for a total of $53,850 (spent $7,848)
House District 48
(To succeed Gus Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs.)
--Robin Borland-R: $2,964 for a total of $19,560 ($5,344 spent)
--Brian Flaherty-R: $9,915 for a total of $51,911 ($3,593 spent)
--Peter Nehr-R: $8,701 raised for a total of $108,730 ($29,722 spent)
--Ken Peluso-R: $15,005 raised for a total of $80,399 (nearly $19,000 spent)
--Carl Zimmerman-D: $1,523 for a total of $7,558 (nearly $3,000 spent)
(To succeed Kim Berfield, R-Clearwater)
--Ed Hooper-R: $10,097.87, for a total of $65,272 (spent $11,191)
--Nancy Riley-R: $22,165 for a total of $82,405 (spent $14,837)
--Candi Jovan-D: newly announced candidate.
(To succeed Leslie Waters, R-Seminole)
--Bruce Cotton-R: $11,690, for a total of $21,521 (spent $7,597)
--Dottie Reeder-R: $9,650, for a total of $33,210 ($10,188 spent)
--Janet Long-D: $7,345 for a total of $21,819 ($4,383 spent)
--Michael Smith-D: $0, for a total of $4,419 raised ($52 spent)
(To succeed Frank Farkas, R-St. Petersburg)
--Angelo Cappelli-R: $27,032 for a total of $93,168 raised ($20,658 spent)
--Sandie Curran-R: $2,200, for a total of $5,335 raised ($1,631 spent)
--Ross Johnson-R: $950 for a total of $27,173 ($15,957 spent)
--Sean Scott-R: $8,300 raised for a total of $12,675 (nearly $12,100 spent)
--Liz McCallum-D: $5,555 raised for a total of $23,230 raised (nearly $21,000 spent)
(To succeed state Rep. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg)
--Christopher K. Ah Leong-R: zero raised this year, for a total of $950 ($92 spent)
--Michael Derry-D: zero raised this year, for a total of $1,885 (nearly $1,400 spent)
--Charles Gerdes-D: $11,400 raised ($100 spent)
--Rick Kriseman-D $14,260 raised for a total of $55,736 (nearly $12,000 spent)
(To succeed state Rep. Everett Rice, R-Treasure Island.)
--James C. "Jim'' Frishe-R: $995 for a total of $24,340 (more than $5,700 spent)
--Rod Jones-R: $55,066 for a total of $100,706 (more than $19,000 spent)
--Michael A. Petruccelli-R: $2.69 total raised.
--Betsy Valentine-D: $2,980 total raised
SIGNATURES, CHECK. VOTES, WE'LL SEE: Samm Simpson, the underdog Democrat challenging 18-term incumbent Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young, seems headed toward the ballot after a weekend of waiting and hoping and knocking on doors.
Simpson delivered 4,617 petition signatures to the Pinellas supervisor of elections Monday supporting her candidacy.
If 4,088 of those are certified, Simpson will make the primary ballot as the lone Democrat, and would set up a November contest with the well-seated Young.
"It's real. It's now. It's Grass Roots Democracy,'' Simpson said in a message to supporters.
Her candidacy, however, was in jeopardy as late as this weekend.
On Friday, Simpson had collected just 2,400 signatures, she said. By Sunday, supporters were sending frantic e-mails seeking more.
Now comes the challenge of taking on Young, who had $288,000 sitting in his campaign account at the end of year.
Adam C. Smith and Aaron Sharockman contributed to this week's Political Junkie.
[Last modified April 12, 2006, 08:47:04]
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