Today's date is May 19, 2022

2018 Campaign Update: Orange County Mayor’s Race


Time may be running out on Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke’s run for mayor. The two-time representative for the residents of District 3 is having a hard time raising enough money to keep up with the two high-profile candidates running for mayor.

Clarke raised more than $18,000 in April to bring his total to $292,486. He still hasn’t reached $300,000 and qualifying begins in a little over a month.

If the commissioner fails to reach $500,000 by June, one has to wonder if he plans to stick around for qualifying.

The other two, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Winter Park businessman Rob Panepinto, continue to charge ahead.

Demings raised $126,252 last month for his campaign account. He has close to $570,000 raised and is showing no signs of slowing down. His PAC, Orange County Citizens for Smart Growth, brought in $62,749 in April and has over $400,000 raised since October of last year.

He’s close to breaking the $1 million mark and is likely to do so in May.

Panepinto added more than $100,000 in April with half of that coming from a personal loan. His political committee, Vision Orange County, raised $18,450 from an array of donors.

So far, he has more than $400,000 raised for his campaign and $200,000 for his political committee. With Demings inching closer to $1 million raised and Panepinto edging close to $800,000 that doesn’t leave much room for Clarke.

As previously mentioned, Clarke is struggling to keep up. He loaned his campaign $200,000 in March, and without that advance, Clarke would have just under $100,000 raised. That shows that this race may not be the one for him, at least monetarily.

Clarke is well-liked, affable, and works hard for his constituents. That will not matter if he’s unable to take his message countywide and override the barrage of ads, mailers, and commercials that will come from Demings and Panepinto.

The publisher of the Orlando Political Observer and Gravis Marketing, Doug Kaplan, is Rob Panepinto’s brother.


About Author

Leon Aprile is a pseudonym for different freelance writers that submit articles to OPO.

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