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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Incumbent's fundraising trails challenger in Dunedin mayor's race



DUNEDIN – On Sunday, we reported how Dunedin's nonpartisan mayoral race has defied science, with the challenger greatly surpassing the incumbent in fundraising.

Well, documents that came available today reveal that the money gap is even wider than we thought.

Former Mayor Bob Hackworth raised $53,000 by Thursday’s deadline to incumbent Mayor Dave Eggers’ $18,370 – a $34,630 divide.

Eggers dropped $500 into his own piggybank, while records show Hackworth chipped in a whopping $35,400, half of it during the final two weeks of campaigning. (Hackworth’s publishing firm, H&H Publishing, also contributed $480 worth of in-kind email, web and postage services throughout the race.)

Hackworth spent all but $600 of his campaign account, including more than $21,000 on mailers and postage, $12,500 on polling and consulting services and at least $1,800 on signs. He also walked neighborhoods and enlisted volunteers to reach out to absentee voters through phone banking.

Moving this year's election from March to coincide with the November general election has created "an interesting dynamic," Hackworth said. "The resources that are necessary to communicate with all these new voters who don't generally vote during a traditional municipal election means you have to reach three times as many people."

Eggers, who prefers to rely on door-knocking and meet-and-greets, has spent about $11,000, most of it on business cards, two mailers, a campaign flyer, a consultant to help design campaign literature and compile voter lists, and a few hundred signs.

Hackworth has run for city, county and federal office, Eggers said, "so his name's been out there. So as far as name recognition, that certainly evens the playing field. I don't think I have any advantage being the incumbent in this case."

Eggers raised the least of any 2012 Dunedin candidate, typically receiving smaller individual contributions in the $25 to $50 range. Donors who contributed the $500 maximum allowed by law included Eggers' father; Donald S. Jones, a resident at Mease Manor in Dunedin, where Eggers sits on the board; Sarah Guthrie, board chair of JT Walker Industries, a Clearwater manufacturing company; Gold's Gym; and the Florida Realtors Association, whose Pinellas County arm endorsed Eggers.

Though the city race is nonpartisan, Eggers received maximum contributions from Direct Marketing Southeast, a private company, and the Florida Leadership Fund political action committee, entities controlled by Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala, who also donated $100 under his own name.

Eggers also received support from the owners of several area family-owned businesses.

Hackworth's finance reports showed strong backing from the Florida Professional Firefighters Association and Dunedin Firefighters Association, which donated $250 each, and a combined contribution of $140 from two leaders of the city's fire union. The Dunedin fire union endorsed Hackworth.

The political action committee for Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County, which promotes equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, gave Hackworth $100. Hackworth has strongly advocated for gay rights and called on Dunedin government to create a domestic partnership registry.

Contributors who gave $500 included Commissioner Julie Scales' husband, David Scales; developer Joe Kokolakis; former Commissioner Deborah Kynes, an attorney and Dunedin Fine Art Center advisory board member whose husband, Allen Kynes, also donated $250; and four companies tied to restaurateur Peter Kreuziger.

Several board and advisory members to the Dunedin Fine Art Center also contributed to Hackworth's war chest.

The art center recently asked the city to pitch in $500,000 toward a grant to expand the organization's city-owned building. Also, the city is planning improvements to the Dunedin Marina waterfront, near properties owned by Kreuziger and Kokolakis.
The challenger has also raised more money than the incumbent in Dunedin's race for Commission Seat 3.

The challenger has also raised more money than the incumbent in Dunedin's race for Commission Seat 3.

As of Friday, political newcomer Heather Gracy's supporters had contributed $22,400 to her campaign. She loaned herself $100 and has spent $21,535.

Commissioner David Carson has raised $21,810 - $10,000 of which he loaned himself - and has spent $16,520.

Click the links here for more info on the candidates or their campaign treasurer reports.

--Keyonna Summers, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Monday, November 5, 2012 2:39pm]


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