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Florida Politics

So far Scherer has more donors, with deeper pockets.

Republican Chris Scherer has raised more than $200,000 for his race for Pinellas County Commission, District 1. That more than doubles his Democratic opponentCookie Kennedy.

Scherer collected $29,615 through his campaign account in the first quarter of 2024, and added $16,000 to his political committee, Friends of Chris Scherer, boosting his totals.

“The election year is here, and our continued fundraising momentum through the first quarter of 2024 is a testament to the ‘CAN-DO’ attitude and positive message of our campaign,” Scherer said.

“I’m proud of the support we are receiving from everyday Pinellas residents who agree that we can cut property taxes, clean up our water, and make our homes affordable again with conservative policy making. I look forward to working harder than ever on the campaign trail throughout the summer!”

Kennedy, currently the Mayor of Indian Rocks Beach, has raised $95,208, including $11,150 in the first quarter.

Scherer took in 56 donations to his campaign from January through March, averaging about $529 per donation.

Notable contributions include $1,000 from Chris SpencerGov. Ron DeSantis’ nominee for Executive Director of the State Board of Administration; $1,000 each from Greg  and Debbie Sembler of the Sembler family; $100 from Barbara Haselden, a local conservative activist; $1,000 from the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association, which endorsed Scherer; $1,000 from the political committee for Shumaker; and $250 from Pinellas County Tax Collector candidate Adam Ross.

Scherer also listed a nearly $816 in-kind contribution from Sea Dog Brewing Company for food and beverage at a campaign event.

He spent nearly $6,800 in the first quarter, including $3,000 to the Barker Strategy Group for fundraising consulting and various expenses for credit card fees, reimbursements, email and social media services through Supernova Digital, accounting services, voter contact, web hosting and campaign swag.

Scherer’s committee brought in six contributions, including $5,000 from Belleair retiree and prominent conservative donor Joseph White; $4,000 from STP Redevelopment; $3,000 from Scherer Holdings; $2,500 from Craig Scherer, Scherer’s brother; $1,000 from Friends of Nick DiCeglie, the committee supporting Sen. Nick DiCeglie; and $500 from St. Pete real estate professional Michael Connor.

The committee has spent more than $17,000 to date, including more than $9,000 in the first quarter. The committee shelled out more than $2,500 to Supernova Digital for advertising and web hosting, as well as $5,500 to the Barker Strategy Group for fundraising consulting.

Kennedy’s first-quarter haul includes 61 contributions averaging about $183 each. She only received four maximum $1,000 contributions, from government affairs consultant Paul Mitchell, Salt Rock Grill, entrepreneur Thomas Foxhill from Oldsmar, and St. Pete business United Fire Protection.

Other notable contributions include $50 from the North Pinellas Dems; $250 from Tampa lawyer Ron Christaldi; congressional candidate Liz Dahan; $50 from the Democratic Women’s Club of Upper Pinellas; and $200 from former Republican Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala.

Kennedy spent more than $7,200 in the first quarter, including $5,000 to the Public Square for political consulting and $1,175 to Computare Partners for compliance and accounting.

Scherer and Kennedy are facing off in a race to replace retiring Commissioner Janet Long, a Democrat.

Republicans, after years of registration gains, now outnumber Democrats in Pinellas County. District 1 is an at large seat, meaning it is up for election countywide in both the Primary and the General. While Democrats are outnumbered in the county, the margin is far less countywide than it is within District 1, where Republicans have about a 26,000-voter advantage, or about 11 percentage points. The margin countywide is about 16,000 voters, or just a little over a percentage point.

Republicans recently flipped the political makeup of the Pinellas County Commission in the 2022 Midterms and are looking to grow that advantage with a Scherer victory this year.

They’re also eyeing Charlie Justice’s seat, with a bid by Republican Vincent Nowicki to unseat the longtime Democratic Commissioner.