Which city candidates lead in fundraising?

Candidates for the City Commission At Large seat participate in the League of Women Voters candidate forum at the downtown branch of the Alachua Public Library in Gainesville on Jan. 8.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, January 16, 2012 at 9:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 16, 2012 at 10:46 p.m.

The 11 candidates jockeying for two open seats on the Gainesville City Commission will enter the two-week homestretch today, with two candidates in the At-large 1 race pulling away from the field in terms of fundraising while there is little separating the three District 1 candidates.

Of the eight candidates running for the At-large 1 seat, Lauren Poe fared best in the most recent reporting period, which goes from Christmas Eve to Jan. 6, pulling in $5,410, to bring his contribution total to $14,095, according to campaign-finance records released Friday.

Overall, Poe has been out-raised only by Nathan Skop, a former Florida Public Service commissioner, who has brought in $16,180.

As of Jan. 6, Poe, a former District 2 city commissioner, had spent the most of any candidate — $8,544.95 — leaving him with $5,550.05 in hand.

Skop, meanwhile, had $12,301.91 left to spend.

Not much is separating the candidates who have raised the third, fourth and fifth most — Darlene Pifalo has raised $7,950, James Ingle has raised $7,074 and Donna Lutz has raised $6,400.

Richard Selwach and Dejeon Cain have both been the sole contributors to their campaigns, giving $1,200 and $279, respectively. Mark Venzke spent $209.80 on his campaign that has raised $562.80 in all.

Lutz said she wasn't concerned about trailing in the money race, saying it is votes she wants.

“You can have all the money in the world, but if nobody is voting, the money doesn't count,” she said.

Poe held a campaign party at a downtown bar on Jan. 6, accounting for his relatively large haul, which “energized” him and his supporters, he said.

With eight candidates, it will be difficult for a candidate to get more than 50 percent of the votes, the necessary tally to avoid a runoff.

Poe said he believed the race is destined for a second round, but said he isn't penciling himself in just yet.

“We're certainly not taking it for granted,” he said.

In the District 1 race, Yvonne Hinson-Rawls took the fundraising lead from Armando Grundy, raising $2,473, to bring her total to $8,733.

Grundy raised $540, making his total haul $7,368, while Ray Washington brought in $425, giving him $6,272.31 on the campaign.

In a smaller, single-district race, the candidates have been going door to door in east Gainesville, trying to drum up support.

Washington said that legwork will be what wins the day, not fundraising.

“Money isn't going to win this race,” he said.

But Hinson-Rawls said she was encouraged by the numbers, while Grundy said he wasn't concerned about losing financial ground.

“I don't worry about what my opponent is doing,” he said. “Our campaign is still focused on what we are doing.”

Contact Chad Smith at 338-3104 or chad.smith@gvillesun.com.

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