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Greco maintains big fundraising lead, but interesting movement behind him

TAMPA — Former Mayor Dick Greco has widened his fundraising lead, but campaign finance reports Friday suggested a shift in momentum among three other candidates in the Tampa mayor's race.

Greco raised $127,569 from Feb. 5 through Feb. 24, bringing his total cash contributions so far to $477,510.

Meanwhile, former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik said he raised $59,217, and former Tampa City Council member Bob Buckhorn reported raising $48,197 in cash contributions during the same weeks.

Each was more than former County Commissioner Rose Ferlita's $40,520 for the latest reporting period.

With nearly $299,000 in cash contributions received overall, Ferlita is still second only to Greco in total donations. Buckhorn is third with $230,798 and Turanchik is fourth with $131,077.

The fifth candidate, Tampa City Council chairman Thomas Scott, said he raised $19,860 in cash during the latest reporting period, bringing his total contributions for the campaign to nearly $51,500.

Despite being behind in total fundraising, Buckhorn and Turanchik said they have sensed a change in the dynamics of the race in recent weeks. Donors and undecided voters increasingly are breaking their way as Tuesday's election approaches, they said.

"You get a feel for it," said Buckhorn, who said he has been walking door-to-door all week and seeing a change in how voters react. "Phone calls pick up. Money picks up. It's a good feeling. It's really picked up as people have started to focus on the race."

Ferlita said the strength of her early fundraising gave her campaign a foundation that allows her to work more on reaching out to voters. In recent weeks, she said, she hasn't worried too much about raising money.

"The money will come easily enough once we're in a runoff," she said.

Also Friday, Ferlita's campaign released the results of a poll showing her with 24 percent of the vote, Buckhorn with 22 percent, Greco and Turanchik each with 19 percent and Scott with 5 percent. Nine percent of respondents were undecided. The automated poll of 819 likely voters was done for Ferlita's campaign by Voter Survey Service of Harrisburg, Pa. It was conducted Feb. 18-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, according to a memo from the pollster for Ferlita.

Ferlita said she was excited about the poll but took nothing for granted.

"You just keep running like you're in last place," she said.

Greco maintains big fundraising lead, but interesting movement behind him 02/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 25, 2011 10:32pm]

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