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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McKenzie kicks off fundraising campaign in District 55 race

ST. PETERSBURG- Last time around, State Rep. Darryl Rouson smoked Charles McKenzie when it came to campaign fundraising.

Now, with McKenzie and Rouson slated to face off again in the District 55 statehouse primary, McKenzie is determined to raise some cash. And he is doing it at Rouson's old stomping grounds.

McKenzie, a longtime educator and pastor, will host a fundraiser Tuesday at the Kismet Old School Cafe in St. Petersburg at 6:30 p.m. On the guest list so far, Council Member Wengay Newton, St. Petersburg Democratic Club President Jim Donelon, former council member candidate Maria Scruggs-Weston and local singer Dawn Willey. Former Council Member Earnest Williams, who came in third after McKenzie and Rouson in the March primary, is also slated to attend and show his support for McKenzie.

During the March special election, Rouson hosted his first major fundraiser at Kismet, a hot spot among the city's movers and shakers, especially affluent African Americans. At the time, owner Ray Tampa was trying to remain neutral in the race, but these days, he is throwing his support behind McKenzie.

Rouson raised nearly $70,000 in the District 55 special election. McKenzie, meanwhile, raked in a little more than $14,000.

The Democratic primary is in August.

-Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:29am]


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