Judicial candidates filling war chests
Private lawyer Bruce G. Howie has the largest war chest in the race for a Pinellas-Pasco Circuit judgeship, but a closer look at campaign finance figures shows one of his opponents, Mary Handsel, actually has received more monetary contributions.
Who's giving the money? Keep reading.
Howie has put $29,500 of his own money into the race for the Group 6 judgeship He also has raised $10,476 from donors, giving him a campaign chest of $39,976.
Assistant state attorney Handsel has raised more than twice as much as Howie from donors. She has raised $21,795 in monetary donations and another $3,158 in in-kind donations. Only $4,100 of her $29,053 is her own money, records show.
A third candidate, assistant public defender Violet M. Assaid, has raised $11,580, about $6,000 of which is her own money.
Some of Howie’s donors include Englander and Fischer; Beltz & Ruth; Rahdert, Steele, Bole & Reynolds (which represents the St. Petersburg Times); Hebert Law Group; and Brown & Doherty.
Handsel’s donors also include a number of fellow prosecutors, as well as law enforcement officials. Her husband is a Pinellas sheriff’s deputy.
Handsel’s donors from attorneys include Declan Mansfield, George Tragos, Glenn Martin (a fellow prosecutor who ran against Handsel in the last election. Both lost to Chris Helinger); Sonny Im, a former judge; and Kara Siracusa, wife of former prosecutor and current judge Pat Siracusa.
Assaid, who specializes in representing the mentally ill, has several donations from some psychiatrists, mental health specialists and psychologists who have done work for the courts. She also has donations from several lawyers.
All three lawyers are seeking the bench occupied by Judge Marion Fleming, who is retiring.
--Chris Tisch, Times Staff Writer