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Rice campaign smashes St. Petersburg City Council fundraising record

ST. PETERSBURG — In her second bid for a seat on the City Council, Darden Rice has smashed the fundraising record set in 2009 by City Council member Steve Kornell.

Rice, a candidate in District 4, accomplished this before the August primary, when her campaign's financial reports showed she'd raised $75,000, besting Kornell's top haul of $71,000.

But the latest numbers, which reflect fundraising from after the primary until Sept. 13, show that her campaign has used the past several weeks to make Kornell's record seem like a distant memory.

Rice's campaign has raised a total of $95,370, an eye-popping number for a candidate who is already relatively well-known in the city's political circles. She has spent $87,840.

"Breaking the fundraising record for St. Pete City Council campaigns shows the strength of Darden Rice as a candidate," her campaign manager, Nick Janovsky, said in a statement. "The record was set from setting goals, months of hard work, and Darden connecting with St. Pete residents."

To date, Carolyn Fries, Rice's opponent in the District 4 race, has raised nearly $14,000.

"Considering all the money she's spent, I think I'm doing pretty well," Fries said. "I'm not discouraged by any stretch at all."

Rice's reports show that union support has played a major role in the campaign's fundraising. She also received $2,500 from the state Democratic Party in August, a marker of how unusually invested the state party has become in the city's nonpartisan elections.

Asked if she anticipates receiving similar support from the Republican Party, Fries said no. "It would be nice," she said. "Do I expect it? No, I don't expect anything of anyone."

In District 8, candidate Amy Foster has brought in about $8,000 since the primary when she won more than half of the votes cast. Her opponent, Steve Galvin, who trailed her in the primary, has not reported raising any money in the past several weeks.

City Council member Jim Kennedy, who is seeking another term in District 2, has raised a total of $15,500. He is being challenged by activist Lorraine Margeson, who has raised $5,500.

And in District 6, where overwhelming support for City Council member Karl Nurse in the primary suggests an easy general election, Nurse has raised nearly $21,000. His opponent, Sharon Russ, has raised $670.

Contact Anna M. Phillips at aphillips@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8779.

Rice campaign smashes St. Petersburg City Council fundraising record 09/23/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 23, 2013 11:29pm]
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