110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
posted Aug 3, 2012 - 6:58:26am
Money left over from abandoned campaigns for state offices has swollen Volusia County Council District 1 candidate Pat Patterson’s campaign fund far beyond anything his rivals for the office can muster.
As of the July 13 reporting date, Patterson had transferred slightly more than $73,706 from closed campaign accounts into his District 1 war chest, bringing his tally up to an eye-popping $79,294.
It’s the most money in any war chest in any of the five district races for County Council. Pat Northey, in the District 5 race, comes closest to Patterson in fundraising, with $50,716 as of July 13.
As of the last report, Patterson had spent almost $50,791, including refunds to contributors statewide who wanted their money back after Patterson abandoned his campaigns for state chief financial officer, then for state Senate District 8, before deciding to run for County Council this year.
Still, after the refunds and expenditures for such things as mailed campaign fliers, Patterson’s District 1 war chest still has almost $42,916. That net amount is more than twice the combined amounts raised by his four rivals.
Other District 1 candidates say they can’t hope to equal Patterson’s contributions, at least not until after the Tuesday, Aug. 14, primary whittles the field down to two competitors.
“It’s not going to happen, at least not before the primary,” said former Orange City Council Member Jeff Allebach, who, with about $5,665, has collected the third-most in contributions, behind Patterson and Missy Kelly.
Kelly, the wife of current District 1 Council Member Andy Kelly, has about $6,975.
Other candidates also point out that because Patterson had been getting money from throughout the state for either his Senate or CFO races, much of his County Council war chest is made up of money from sources far removed from District 1.
Kelly, whose husband now is running for Volusia County elections supervisor, said she went over Patterson’s list of contributors on file at the state Division of Elections.
“I found it interesting that you had to get to Page 4 or 5 before you find anybody from DeLand,” Missy Kelly said.
The other two District 1 candidates, former DeLand City Commissioner Terry Dilligard Sr. and DeLand businessman Ronnie Mills, lag far behind Kelly and Allebach, let alone Patterson.
So far, Mills has collected $3,900 and Dilligard has $3,750.
“It puts us at a little bit of a disadvantage, does it not?” Mills asked. He’s making his first try at political office.
It may be a matter of dilution, as the District 1 race, with five candidates, has more candidates than any of the other district races. In District 4, which has four candidates, three of the four have raised in excess of $13,000.
Patterson, an insurance executive, served two terms as the District 1 representative on the County Council in the 1990s, and then served in the state House of Representatives from 1998 until 2000 and from 2002 until 2010. He had been eyeing a Senate seat since 2009.
When Senate district boundaries were redrawn after the 2010 federal census, Patterson, a Republican, decided to try for CFO. Then, he again thought about, and opened a campaign fund for, the Senate.
Eventually, he decided on and qualified for another shot at District 1. The contributions listed on his state report date back to 2009, so he’s been raising campaign funds for nearly three years.
“It started out as a Senate race, then CFO, then back to the Senate, then to District 1,” Patterson said. “Yeah, I’ve got quite a bit by now.”
But, Patterson said he isn’t through collecting money.
“I’m still doing fundraising,” he said. “Every candidate is having a hard time raising money.”
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