TAMPA — Dick Greco apparently hasn't forgotten how to raise money since he last ran for mayor 12 years ago, and two of his competitors are hanging strong in the cash race.
Overall, the numbers lag behind the pace of the last open Tampa mayoral campaign, in which the front-running candidates would ultimately pull in nearly $900,000.
Greco, 77, has raised $165,845 in a little more than a month of campaigning since he announced his bid to seek a fifth term as Tampa mayor on Nov. 29, a stretch that covered the holidays. "We've had basically 31/2 weeks to raise money," Greco said. "So I thought I did exceptionally well."
Good chunks of Greco's initial war chest came from bundles of cash from companies controlled by a half-dozen or so people, though he reported donations from more than 400 people or businesses. Family members and the corporate affiliates of Gary Harrod, a commercial real estate developer from South Tampa, gave nearly $15,000, for instance.
Greco had spent a little more than $12,000, nearly half of it to campaign consultant Vic DiMaio, when the quarterly reporting period ended Dec. 31.
Former Hillsborough County commissioner and Tampa City Council member Rose Ferlita continued to hold the money lead after another strong quarterly showing. She brought in $88,673 to take her total over two fundraising periods to $219,553. She has spent just more than $40,000.
Her report includes donations spanning a variety of interests, ranging from health care workers to lawyers and developers. She received a roughly $5,000 block of donations from executives with TECO Energy, among a total of nearly 1,000 separate contributions since she began campaigning.
"We've got well-rounded support," Ferlita said. "I think what we're seeing and enjoying is kind of a mirror image of what our focus was — that is, all of Tampa."
Former Tampa City Council member Bob Buckhorn, a political consultant making his second bid to be mayor, brought in $35,462 in his third quarter of campaigning to take his total to $150,106. He has spent nearly $50,000, according to the Supervisor of Elections office, though details of his contributions were not available.
Former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, who has worn a variety of hats since, said he raised $53,465 in his first quarter of campaigning and spent nearly $20,000. His information was not available from the elections office.
Similarly, the office had not received the latest report from Tampa City Council member Tom Scott, who had previously raised $26,880. A sixth candidate, Arthur Richardson III, has raised just $100. Reports were due in the mail by Monday.
By this time in 2003, the last open Tampa mayoral race, then-frontrunner Frank Sanchez had raised nearly $625,000. That was before eventual winner Pam Iorio announced her late candidacy. She would end up raising more than $460,000 in the final two months of the campaign.
Bill Varian can be reached at (813) 226-3387 or email@example.com.