Pasco County Commissioner Henry Wilson has been raising money for his re-election campaign since last July, and has amassed a respectable $19,000 through the end of March.
But now Wilson will have to go into full fundraising mode because his new challenger, Mike Wells Jr., isn’t holding back. Wells, the son of Pasco County property appraiser Mike Wells Sr., has already out-raised Wilson — in a single month.
Wells collected $20,700 in April, according to election campaign documents filed with the county, the largest single-month total of any county commission candidate so far this year. In fact, Wells’ haul was the most in a single month by any candidate in any commission election since the race between Ted Schrader and Ronald Oakley two years ago where both candidates combined to raise nearly $345,000.
A good portion of Wells’ early donations — nearly $6,800 — have come from property developers and those involved in real estate, primarily in the New Port Richey area. However, he also received a $2,000 boost from Waste Aid Systems in Land O’ Lakes, including from its vice president, Thomas Peterson.
Wells has spent less than $400 in his first month, meaning he comes into May with more than $20,000 on-hand.
Wilson has yet to file his financials for April, but raised $1,900 in March. He has not spent much as well, with nearly $18,000 in the bank through the end of March.
But who has the most money may not be the final decider in this race, if the past has anything to say about it. Wilson raised just $8,700 in his first bid for county commission in 2010, and beat incumbent Michael Cox, who raised more than $162,000.
Barring anyone else jumping into the race, voters will decide between Wells and Wilson in an open primary Aug. 26.