TAMPA — Two months after entering the race for mayor, Dick Greco has blown past his rivals in the contest to raise campaign cash.
Through Jan. 21, the former mayor's campaign had raised $293,371 in cash contributions, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday. That's nearly $50,000 more than his next closest rival.
"I'm just trying to get out and see more people," said Greco, who is seeking a fifth term. "We got in very late. We're playing catchup."
Greco says he doesn't ask anyone for campaign contributions but has two of Tampa's wealthiest and most well-connected businessmen, John Sykes and David Straz Jr., as his campaign finance chairmen.
His contributions for the latest reporting period include donations from lobbyists, CEOs, attorneys, doctors and real estate and construction companies.
Greco also benefitted from the support of the Police Benevolent Association, with a total $3,500 coming from seven different Tallahassee-based PBA chapters or political committees.
As a result, for the three weeks between New Year's Day and Jan. 21, Greco not only reported receiving more individual contributions (427) than other candidates, but donations to his campaign tended to be bigger, averaging nearly $299 each.
Greco also has established a lead in campaign spending, paying out $89,873 so far.
By comparison, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Rose Ferlita, who entered the race more than four months earlier than Greco, so far has raised a total of $243,518 and spent $55,873. During the first three weeks in January, she took in 152 contributions averaging $141 each.
Former Tampa City Council member Bob Buckhorn now has raised a total of $167,656 and so far has spent $65,939. He collected 95 contributions averaging nearly $201 each through Jan. 21.
Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik has raised a total of $62,249 and spent $39,076. He took in 65 contributions averaging $205 apiece during the latest reporting period.
Turanchik and Buckhorn each received a $250 donation from former Florida chief financial officer and Democratic nominee for governor Alex Sink.
As of Friday evening, a campaign finance report for Tampa City Council chairman Thomas Scott had yet to be posted to the Hillsborough County supervisor of elections website.
Times staff writer Richard Danielson can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403.