The Numbers Are Trickling In
Jamie Bennett was probably wise to release his numbers early - it limited the unflattering comparisons when Deveron Gibbons and Scott Wagman released their first quarter totals.
Gibbons stands as the uncontested frontrunner in the money race with $117k raised. He even managed to defuse some of the criticism of his out-of-the-area fundraising by releasing that 344 of 542 contributors were from St Pete.
Wagman's numbers have to be considered a little disappointing, but only because he ramped up expectations early by telegraphing his intention to raise $500k in this election. He raised $54k and loaned himself another $20k - and while these are impressive numbers, he is certainly not on track to raise half a million dollars.
Also, if I'm correct, Wagman's (relatively) disappointing numbers might provide an opening for Bennett.
My assumption is that this technically non-partisan will still come down to a run-off between a defacto GOP nominee and defacto Democratic nominee. Gibbons has taken a huge step towards becoming that defacto GOP nominee (though many Republicans, more familiar with Bill Foster's record, may still gravitate towards the councilman, so I won't be carving any names in stone here).
On the Democratic side, I feel that it will come down to Wagman v Bennett (sorry Kathleen - you've been out of the picture for too long). Bennett's $31k first quarter and Wagman's talk of $500k made it seem as if Wagman might have the resources to swamp Bennett.
Now, though it seems clear that Wagman will outraise Bennett and by a considerable amount, it might stay close enough for Bennett's name recognition and electoral base in his city council district to get him out of the primary and into the run-off - and at Wagman's expense.
Final caveat - we don't know how much of Wagman's own money he is willing to put into this race, but we can be sure that his campaign manager will be urging to commit the necessary resources. It is entirely possible that the wealthy Wagman will drop a quarter in this race, and that would mean all bets are off.