Starkey leads the pack in fundraising for Pasco commission seat

Kathryn Starkey might be in a crowded field in the Republican primary for a County Commission seat, but she has opened up a wide fundraising lead over her four rivals.

The former School Board member and state House candidate on Friday released an initial campaign finance report showing more than $38,000. Contributors included several political players and their companies, such as developer Dewey Mitchell, planner King Helie and Dade City banker Hjalma Johnson.

She also got help from local legislators and candidates. She received maximum $500 checks from a political committee tied to incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford and a separate committee controlled by Sen. Jack Latvala. Checks also came from state Senate candidate Wilton Simpson and his wife and from Suzanne Legg, who is married to state Rep. John Legg.

So far, she has spent about $16,000 of her haul.

Trailing her in the District 3 race is Chris Gregg, whose sole donation in the latest report was $8,000 from himself. He has a total of $17,100. Randy Evans added $1,800 for a total of $8,700; Josh Griffin has $8,100, which is largely self-financed; and Karen King has collected a total of $7,000, much of it from small donors. Democrat Matt Murphy has raised $10,000.

• In the District 1 County Commission race, Zephyrhills citrus grower Ron Oakley added $10,600 this quarter to bring his haul to $113,000. But he has spent nearly all of that, $108,000. Incumbent Commissioner Ted Schrader nearly doubled his war chest, bringing in $40,000 this quarter. So far, he has spent only $15,000. A third candidate, Rachel O'Connor, has raised $9,700 and spent nearly all of it.

• District 5 Commissioner Jack Mariano collected more than $20,000, bringing his total to $30,000. Challenger Bill Gunter raised $16,000 in his first report and has spent about half of that.

• Tax collector Mike Olson, Pasco's only elected Democrat, added $14,000 in this report, bringing his total to $82,000. Republican challenger Ed Blommel collected $16,000 and has raised a total of $30,000.

• Sheriff Chris Nocco had another impressive fundraising report. He brought in $113,000, more than doubling his earlier haul. His $216,000 war chest is the biggest of any local candidate's. Republican opponent Roger Fortney added $8,700 from himself to bring his total to $22,000, and former Maj. Maurice Radford brought in $5,800 this quarter. His total is $17,000. Democrat Kim Bogart gave his campaign $30,000 and raised an additional $19,000 this quarter.

• Property appraiser Mike Wells added $9,000 in this report, for a total of $52,000. GOP challenger Walter Price added $3,300 for a total of $8,700. Democrat Allison Newlon raised nearly all of her $3,500 this quarter.

• Clerk of courts Paula O'Neil added $17,000, roughly doubling her earlier total. No-party opponent Roberta Cutting has raised $632.

• For state Senate District 17 — which covers much of south Pasco and the Carrollwood area in Hillsborough — state Rep. John Legg collected $21,000. His campaign's total is $168,000. GOP challenger Rob Wallace, a former state representative from Tampa, raised $14,000 this quarter, for a total of $22,000. Republican John Korsak has raised a total of $16,000. Democrat Wes Johnson has nearly $25,000.

• East Pasco egg farmer Wilton Simpson added $52,000 to his campaign in state Senate District 18. He has raised $273,000 but has spent nearly all of it. Democrat Josh Smith of Hudson reported $2,000 from the state Democratic Party to cover his qualifying fee.

• For his campaign to return to the Florida House, Sen. Mike Fasano collected $103,000 in his first fundraising report. He has spent $18,000. Pasco GOP vice chairman Jim Mathieu has raised a total of $12,000, and Republican Michael Kennedy of Hudson has $460.

• Rep. Richard Corcoran of Trinity added $38,000 this quarter to his campaign. The Republican has raised a total of $239,000. The report for his opponent, Strother Hammond of Land O'Lakes, was not available Friday afternoon.

• Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford — who won his seat unopposed — brought his total war chest to $421,000. Weatherford, who is also raising money for separate committees that help other Republican House candidates from across the state, must now decide how to dispose of the unused funds in his own campaign account.

Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6236.

Starkey leads the pack in fundraising for Pasco commission seat 07/13/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 13, 2012 9:49pm]

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