All the money that is going to be raised in the battle for Pasco County Commission seat District 4 has been raised. And now the only thing either candidate can do is sit back and wait for voters to decide.
Mike Wells Jr. is challenging Henry Wilson Jr. for his seat on the commission in an open primary race Aug. 26 where the winner takes all. Although both Wells and Wilson are Republicans, the primary race is open to all voters since there is not a general election opponent lined up.
That means at least one of the two contested seats on the county commission will be decided after votes are counted Tuesday night.
In the final two weeks of fundraising, both Wells and Wilson combined to raise $9,800. That puts total fundraising for the race at $127,200. That’s far less than what this district raised in 2010 when $171,300 was collected — nearly all of it from then incumbent Michael Cox, who lost his re-election bid to Wilson.
It’s also well behind the 2006 race where $184,111 was raised, and where an out-funded Cox toppled then incumbent Steve Simon.
District 4 has not been kind to incumbents, but Wilson is trying to change that by being the first to win re-election in the district since Simon did it in 2002.
Just as he has all campaign, Wells out-raised Wilson in the final two weeks with a little less than $7,000, compared to $2,850 from the current commissioner. That included $1,000 in in-kind contributions from Elite Mobile Advertising of Land O’ Lakes, as well as $1,500 from three New Port Richey investment companies that share the same address.
Wilson, on the other hand, continued to collect donations from those involved in the development industry despite his claims at a recent candidate forum that they don’t support him. He earned $500 each from Central Florida Testing Laboratories in Clearwater and Alfonso Architects of Tampa. He picked up another $500 from Reiss Engineering of Winter Springs.
Wells has spent a little more than $77,000 of his $86,355 total, with 51 percent — or $39,690 — happening in Pasco County. He spent $12,280 on advertising, but less than 4 percent of it was done locally. The rest, a little more than $11,800, was spent with Direct Marketing Southeast of Largo.
Wilson spent just over $40,000, nearly all the money he raised. Unlike other candidates in the county commission races this time around, Wilson spent a vast majority of his money outside the county. Only 29 percent, or $11,746, was used with local businesses. Other money, including $24,500 to Andrick & Associates of Sarasota, was spent elsewhere.
Wilson also spent a little less than $3,200 on “robo calls” with Strategic Victory Partners of Brooksville. He kept his advertising budget light, just under $650, and chose to use mailers instead.
Who will occupy District 4 on the county commission dais will be decided Aug. 26.