Make us your home page

Bay Buzz

The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A Jacksonville political group helps Rick Kriseman in St. Petersburg mayoral race



Mayoral candidate Rick Kriseman is getting some help from a statewide group.

Fact Check Florida, an electioneering communications organization, or ECO, recently sent thousands of glossy mailers to city households.

The Jacksonville-based mailers ask: “If mayors were like street lights, which one would you want for St. Petersburg?”

The back side shows candidate Kathleen Ford as the red light, and Mayor Bill Foster as the yellow light. And Kriseman is the green light.

Fact Check Florida was incorporated July 17, state records show.

The group to wants help progressive candidates win elections at the local, county and state level, said chairman Matthew Martz. He declined to reveal the names of donors, but said the group is focused on 2014 elections.

Martz, who is also listed on LinkedIn as an account executive at Mad Dog Mail, has ties to Cesar Fernandez, Kriseman’s campaign manager. Both men worked on the campaign last year for state Sen. Jeff Clemens.

Locally, Martz has also worked for Hernando County Commissioner Diane Rowden and Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, according to LinkedIn.

Electioneering communications organizations can buy ads and directly spend money on campaigns. It can coordinate with candidates but not expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate. The groups don’t typically play in city elections.

Fernandez says Kriseman’s camp welcomes the help.

“They’re running a mail program,” Fernandez said. “From (our) perspective, this allows us to do more.”

He doesn’t know what it cost Fact Check Florida to send about 15,000 mailers.

[Last modified: Monday, July 29, 2013 10:26am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours