Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Scott Wagman sets fund record

ST. PETERSBURG — It's officially the most expensive mayoral race this city has ever seen.

Mayoral hopeful Scott Wagman rose to the top of a crowded field Friday, amassing a campaign chest worth $236,100 and shattering the record for the most money raised by a candidate in a St. Petersburg election.

Wagman, the wealthiest candidate in the race, has pumped $140,000 of his own money into his campaign since January, including an $80,000 loan within the last month, according to the latest batch of campaign finance reports.

"It means I am committed to this campaign and this city," said Wagman, 56, a real estate investor. "I need to invest at a higher level to get my name recognition up, remembering that I am competing with people that have been on council, have a lot more visibility than I have due to prior government service, and I have to step it up."

Wagman raised $6,565 from contributions during this last reporting period, a 24-day window that had candidates scrambling to boost their numbers as the campaign marches to an end for all but two final contenders. The September primary is a month away.

Corporate executive Deveron Gibbons dropped to second place in fundraising with a campaign kitty of $165,260. He raised $8,605 from contributors in July, more than any other candidate.

Gibbons continued to raise the bulk of his cash outside St. Petersburg. Of his 46 contributors in July, 24 live outside the city.

Gibbons still has the most cash in the bank. While Wagman burned through all but $29,093 of his money — he spent more than $53,000 just on printing and postage — Gibbons held on to $51,098.

Wagman and Gibbons, both first-time candidates, continue to outpace the other eight candidates financially.

Third place contender Bill Foster raised $7,805 in July, bringing his total to $71,491. A bustling campaign schedule has made it difficult to ask for cash, said Foster.

"The more forums you have, the less opportunity you have for a real organized push because you are out speaking, versus out raising money," said Foster, a former council member.

He dismissed Wagman's push to the front financially.

"If it's all your money, to me it doesn't count," he said. "You can't say someone has raised the most money in St. Petersburg when it is all coming out of your pocket."

Lawyer Kathleen Ford, who raised $2,431 in July, said fundraising will not determine St. Petersburg's next mayor.

"Everybody has their game plan, and we are just focusing on getting the word out," said Ford, 52, a former council member. "We are thrilled with our voluntary support and our monetary support."

Of Wagman, she said, "Who is he, and what has he done for our city?"

Business owner and former council member Larry Williams, 64, raised $4,045.

City Council member Jamie Bennett, 57, raised $3,685.

Real estate investor John Warren, 60, and Paul Congemi, 52, an advocate for the homeless, didn't pick up any cash in July.

Neither political activist Ed Helm, 64, nor student Richard Eldridge, 47, submitted reports to City Hall. Both candidates said they had forgotten about the deadline and would submit their reports by mail.

Eldridge said he didn't raise any money. Helm did not provide a sum.

Cristina Silva can be reached at (727) 893-8846 or

Money in the mayor's race

Here's how much candidates have accumulated in the St. Petersburg mayoral race:

Candidate This period To date
Scott Wagman, 56, real estate investor $86,565 $236,100
Deveron Gibbons, 36, corporate executive $8,605 $165,260
Bill Foster, 46, lawyer $7,805 $71,491
Jamie Bennett, 57, City Council member $3,685 $45,848
Kathleen Ford, 52, lawyer $2,431 $27,215
Larry Williams, 64, business owner $4,045 $25,775
Ed Helm, 64, political activist did not submit report
John Warren, 60, real estate investor $0 $1,790
Paul Congemi, 52, homeless advocate $0 $475
Richard Eldridge, 47, student $0 $415
Source: Campaign treasurers' reports (3rd quarter)

St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Scott Wagman sets fund record 08/01/09 [Last modified: Sunday, August 2, 2009 11:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hernando Sheriff's Office identifies bank robber killed after chase, places 7 deputies on administrative leave


    Authorities have identified a bank robbery suspect fatally shot by Hernando County sheriff's deputies after a wild chase Friday in which the fleeing suspect rammed several patrol cars in Brooksville.

    Scott Michael Chamberlain, 44, died after a deputy-involved shooting Friday. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said that Chamberlaine attempted to rob a bank before taking deputies on a pursuit. (Florida Department of Corrections)
  2. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  3. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  4. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  5. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]