Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Big money pouring in for Pinellas campaigns

Expect to get inundated with campaign ads soon.

Six months out from the Nov. 4 general election, fundraising has amped up in several high-profile Pinellas races.

The pro-transit tax group Friends of Greenlight has raised nearly $500,000, a number that campaign manager Joe Farrell says reflects community support for light rail and an expansion of the bus system.

"It's a little more than where we expected to be at this point. We're very pleased with the outpouring of support," Farrell said.

The group raised most of that ($427,390) last month, according to its latest finance report that was due Monday.

Most contributions came from big name organizations, including $245,000 from the National Association of Realtors, $25,000 from the Tampa Bay Rays, $25,000 from BayCare Health System and $50,000 from Raymond James.

Barb Haselden, campaign manager and spokeswoman of No Tax for Tracks — which opposes the proposed 1-cent sales tax hike to pay for more bus service and light rail — said she expected to be outspent. No Tax's $30,131 in funds (including $4,735 last month) came from people living in the community, not corporations, she said.

"Theirs is the people who might make money off of Greenlight Pinellas," she said. "Ours is all private, personal money that voters are putting up."

Strangers have been calling her for buttons and yard signs, part of Haselden's grass roots strategy for getting out the message. No Tax also purchased a billboard on a 45-foot sailboat that residents will see throughout the summer, she said.

Friends of Greenlight said it hasn't ruled out any strategy, but will be sending out mailers, considering television spots, knocking on doors, and holding rallies.

"We're going to do it all," Farrell said. "There are many ways to contact voters and we need to contact every single one of them we can."

Meanwhile, Pinellas Commissioner Norm Roche's opponents are heading into the race very well funded.

The Republican raised $325 in April, putting his total fundraising at $9,105, an amount dwarfed by his challengers' coffers.

State Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, has raised $110,790 for his primary bid against Roche in August. Hooper wasn't allowed to accept contributions in April or most of March because of the active legislative session. "I kept turning money back," he said.

Meanwhile, Largo Mayor Patricia Gerard, a Democrat, raised $15,120 in April to bring her fundraising total to $80,702. She pointed out that Hooper's donors were largely Tallahassee lobbyists, while her money came from Pinellas. Hooper countered that he has been up in Tallahassee and would have been a fool to turn money away; but now that he's back in Pinellas, he'll focus on raising funds locally.

Roche did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday.

Both Hooper and Gerard acknowledged the challenge of reaching 623,000 voters across the large county. Hooper said he hasn't ruled out television spots, while both candidates plan to focus on mailers.

"You start buying 49-cent stamps," Hooper said, "and it doesn't take long to spend 50 grand."

Contact Lisa Gartner at [email protected] You can follow her on Twitter @lisagartner.

Comments
For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo again as “the opener”

For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo again as “the opener”

The Rays were so pleased with how their Saturday night experiment went with veteran reliever RHP Sergio Romo pitching the first inning – as "the opener" – before giving way to LHP Ryan Yarbrough that they are going to do it again today.Th...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
By David Nakamura, The Washington Post.

By David Nakamura, The Washington Post.

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humor

Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humor

SANTA FE, Texas — Hardworking. Funny. Loving. Grieving family and friends recalled the endearing qualities of some of the victims of Friday’s mass shooting at a Texas high school, as authorities on Saturday released the names of the 10 killed. Eight ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Academy at the Lakes (24-4) vs. Lake Worth Christian (10-3)Where: 11:50 a.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got thereAcademy at the Lakes defeated Seacrest Country Day 11-1, defeated Canterbury 5-1Lake Worth Christian defeated...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 11 hours ago

2 tons of fertilizer spilled into channel leading to Tampa Bay, Kinder Morgan reports to state

TAMPA — As much as two tons of fertilizer accidentally spilled into a channel that leads to the upper part of Tampa Bay, according to a report sent Friday night to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.DEP spokeswoman Dee Ann Miller sai...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Published: 05/19/18