ST. PETERSBURG — With less than two weeks to go before mail ballots are sent out, Mayor Bill Foster's re-election campaign has less money to spend trying to grab voters' attention than does his challenger, Rick Kriseman.
As of Friday, when candidates had to submit their updated campaign finances to the city clerk, Foster had $39,700 on hand. Kriseman, a former lawmaker and City Council member who raised more than his opponent going into the primary, has about $60,500 left to spend.
The mayor said he isn't concerned that Kriseman has raised more money. In an interview on Friday, he suggested his opponent's numbers are actually a sign of weakness.
"Because he's lacked visibility and accomplishments in the past six years, he will continue to focus on fundraising. People know me here," Foster said.
The latest reports show that between Aug. 23 and Sept. 13, Foster's campaign raised $29,000, bringing his total for the election so far to just more than $178,000. In 2009 when he first ran for mayor, Foster raised $248,802, a figure that broke the previous record of $225,846 set by Mayor Rick Baker during the 2001 mayoral race.
"We've met our fundraising goals," he said. "We're very pleased with the amount of support we're getting from St. Petersburg residents."
Kriseman, who released his fundraising numbers earlier this week, raised $52,000 in the most recent period, a figure that led him to declare: "This campaign has grown into a movement." In total, he has raised $214,868.
Throughout the course of the campaign, as the men have debated each other in forums, and traded jabs in print, Foster has repeatedly criticized Kriseman for raising much of his money outside the city's borders. In this last period, about 75 percent of Kriseman's contributions came from within Pinellas County.
According to Foster's campaign, about 77 percent of his contributions this last quarter were from St. Petersburg.
Though reports were due on Friday, many of them had not been published online by the end the day, including figures for all candidates running in City Council Districts 4, 6 and 8.
In District 2, which stretches from Sawgrass Lake to Weedon Island, City Council member Jim Kennedy is seeking a second term in office and has raised $15,500 in total this election. He is being challenged by Lorraine Margeson, a local activist, who has raised $5,500.
For the Nov. 5 general election, mail ballots for overseas and absent military voters were scheduled to go out Friday. Domestic ballots will follow Oct. 1.
Contact Anna M. Phillips at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779.