Mast adds $20,200 to her finances for District 1 County Commission race, with total surpassing final amount Neunder raised for 2022 race

Pilon has $5,640 through March, with Nichols adding no contributions last month

Sarasota County Commission candidate Teresa Mast of Sarasota added another $20,200 in campaign finances through March, her latest report shows. That brings her total thus far to $180,800, according to a form filed with the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office.

That is more money than new Commissioner Joe Neunder of Nokomis raised in his entire District 4 campaign in 2022. His total was $157,660. Commissioner Mark Smith of Siesta Key had the highest campaign finance total for a County Commission race in 2022: $207,575, Supervisor of Elections Office records note.

The largest figure for candidates in the three 2020 County Commission races was $91,960.60, which was the total for Ron Cutsinger of Englewood, who won the District 5 seat that year

Mast had spent only $6,062.76 through March, her latest report notes.

A former member of the county’s Planning Commission, she owns her own construction business.

In February, Mast added $114,450 to the $46,100 she had secured in campaign contributions through January.

Her District 1 opponents remain well behind her, their latest reports show.

Former County Commissioner and Florida House member Ray Pilon of Sarasota had received a total of $5,640 through March, and he had spent $598.94. Pilon’s February report put his campaign finance tally at $1,675.

Les Nichols of Sarasota, who is the third District 1 candidate, had a total of $3,550 through March, which was unchanged from the figure in his February report.

He had spent $264.51 through March, his latest form says. The only expense Nichols listed that month was $50 to CapitalOne for a credit card payment.

Nichols’ LinkedIn account says his is general manager of the En Provence condominium complex on Longboat Key.

Pilon has loaned his campaign $1,000, campaign finance records note, while Nichols had loaned his campaign $800 through February.

The three candidates — all Republicans — are vying to replace Commissioner Michael Moran, who is term-limited.

In the District 3 County Commission race, the only candidate who has filed thus far — Realtor Gregory Wood of Venice — submitted another Waiver of Campaign Finance form to the Supervisor of Elections Office at the end of March, showing he had raised no funds.

Commissioner Nancy Detert, who held the District 3 seat and who died on April 5, also was term-limited. No announcement has been made thus far about who will serve out her term.

Section 114.04 of the State Statutes makes Gov. Ron DeSantis responsible for that appointment. That part of state law follows:

“114.04 Filling vacancies.—Except as otherwise provided in the State Constitution, the Governor shall fill by appointment any vacancy in a state, district, or county office, other than a member or officer of the Legislature, for the remainder of the term of an appointive officer and for the remainder of the term of an elective office, if there is less than 28 months remaining in the term; otherwise, until the first Tuesday after the first Monday following the next general election.”

Details of Mast’s new report

In her March report, Mast listed 27 contributions, which ranged from $100 on up to the maximum, $1,000. Eighteen of them were at the  $1,000 level.

Among the companies that gave Mast $1,000 were Saber Matrix Group, a property management firm in Sarasota; the M/I Homes Political Action Committee (PAC), based in Columbus, Ohio; the PAC Floridians United for a Sustainable Economy, which is based in Tallahassee, with lobbyist David Ramba as its registered agent; and D.R. Horton of Texas, a home construction firm based in Texas.

Further, Mast received more “bundles” of contributions in March:

  • Gracewater Community Development in Sarasota, which builds homes; Gracewater Midtown LLC, which handles new home construction; Merriwater Golf LLC; and Pistotita LLC, another home-building firm — $4,000. Florida Division of Corporations records show that Eldon E. Johnson of Sarasota is the manager of each of those companies.
  • North Carolina companies New Pope Holdco III, an investment consulting firm; Rolling Green Holdco LLC; and TC Six LLC, whose registered agent is Terrell Wolfram; plus Jessica Wolfram — $4,000.
  • Freeman Mullet, owner of Mullet’s Aluminum Products in Sarasota, plus the company itself — $2,000.
  • Pope Golf Properties Inc. and Pope Golf LLC, both of Sarasota — $2,000.

As for expenses: The largest was $4,387, which Mast reimbursed herself for payments she had made on behalf of the campaign. The second highest figure was $400, paid to the CPA firm of Robinson Gruters & Roberts of Venice, which is handling her campaign finances. The Robinson in that firm is Eric, a former chair of the Republican Party of Sarasota County and a past Sarasota County School Board member. The Gruters is state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota.

All of Mast’s other expenses in March were payments to the Anedot firm in Baton Rouge, La., for credit card processing fees. The largest of those was $40.30, with $24.60 the second highest.

Pilon’s report for March

In his March campaign finance report, Pilon listed 16 contributions, which ranged from $5 to $1,000. Only one at the latter level is listed. It came from Louis Betz of Tampa, who was identified as a governmental consultant.

Among other contributions, Pilon received $500 from Scott Eller, CEO of CASL, which — as its website explains — provides “safe, affordable, and permanent supportive housing for adults with developmental differences and mental health diagnoses”; $500 apiece from Engineering Vision of Sarasota and TGW Engineering, which has the same address as Engineering Vision; $500 from Donald H. Ross of Sarasota, an environmental consultant; and $250 from attorney B.V. Dannheiser of Sarasota.

Kathleen Pilon, Pilon’s wife, gave the campaign an in-kind contribution of $99 in March to cover “web maintenance.” That payment appears to have gone to KAJ Consults LLC of Sarasota, based on Pilon’s expense records for March.

Pilon made a range of other payments last month, including five to Paypal for processing fees and two to Dream Web Tech of Sarasota for “domain name hosting.” The larger of the latter payments was $28.99, while the highest amount paid to Paypal was $29.39.

Additionally, Pilon paid a series of processing fees to a San Francisco company called Priyx Rally. The largest of those was $2.88.