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Candidates' coffers moderately full

The biggest fundraiser is mayoral candidate Ted Thomas. And most candidates' money went toward signs and fliers.

By BETH GLENN

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2000


NEW PORT RICHEY -- Candidates for the mayor's post and an open council seat have amassed modest war chests to get their message out to voters for today's elections.

Mayoral candidate Ted Thomas leads in fundraising with $1,775, of which he has spent all but $94, according to campaign finance reports. One of his rivals, Bette Farmerie, reported raising $1,490 and spending $968.

Don Kirby, who says he and his wife, Sharon, spent $1,454 of their money on the City Council race, had the third-largest campaign chest.

Thomas, who held a pancake breakfast last month, attracted the greatest number of donors. Among them were Pasco County Republican Party secretary Ann Bunting, New Port Richey Community Cooperative President Matthew Potter, co-op board member Jim Smetzer and the Kirbys.

Farmerie, a former real estate developer and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, collected some of her donations from a realty firm, a home builder and a plumber, reports said.

The third mayoral candidate, Wendy Brenner, reported collecting $985 and spending $627.59. Among the contributors to her campaign were real estate agents Charles and John Grey.

In the race to fill the council vacancy, only Scott Chittum collected donations. Those totaled $720, and he spent $332, according to campaign finance reports. The county budget director, Mike Nurrenbrock, and his wife, Melissa, who heads the Genesis School, are listed as donating $300 to Chittum's campaign. The rest came from Richey Realty and the candidate.

And where has all the money gone?

According to reports, the largest beneficiaries appear to be printing companies. Reports show the most popular items for candidate spending are signs, fliers, labels and postage for mailings.

New Port Richey council members serve for two years and make $3,600 each year. The mayor's post pays $4,200.

Polls open today at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Registered voters should bring some form of identification that displays their photo and signature, or two separate IDs that verify each element.

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