Monday, July 16, 2012

Mike Bennett holds huge fund-raising lead in Manatee elections supervisor race

The economic downturn may have taken a big bite out of state Sen. Mike Bennett's personal wealth, but it appears not to have affected his political fund-raising prowess as he campaigns to be the next Manatee County supervisor of elections.

A newly filed report that Bennett raised $101,300 in contributions between April 1 and July 6. Throw in the $20,500 -- including $20,000 from Bennett himself -- he reported earlier this year, and Bennett has raised a total of $121,800. That's more than twice what the other five candidates in the race have raised, combined.

As of July 6, Bennett reported spending almost $18,900, leaving him with more than $100,000 heading into the final month of the campaign for the Republican nomination for elections supervisor, according to reports filed with the elections office. The primary is Aug. 14.

Among Bennett's GOP opponents, Edward A. Bailey, former president of the local NAACP, has reported raising a total of $32,788, including more than $21,000 in the second quarter. Former county commissioner Jane von Hahmann has raised $9,330; and Richard Bedford, a member of the county planning commission, has raised $7,150.

Democrat Charles N. Williams reported raising a total of $3,759; and write-in candidate Rodney "Smokey" Smithley reported $2,100 in contributions.

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