Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Incumbent Safety Harbor mayor has raised the most campaign funds

SAFETY HARBOR — Mayor Joe Ayoub bested his opponents in one way even before the March 11 city election: He had garnered the most campaign donations through the last reporting period.

Ayoub had raised $7,925 as of Feb. 7. Former Mayor Andy Steingold was close behind with $7,620, and City Commissioner Nancy Besore was trailing with $3,140 — less than half that raised by the other two candidates in the mayoral race.

Ayoub's reports show some large donations. He has received six donations of $500 or more, including a $1,000 donation from Intellect Technical Solutions, a Tampa company owned by Safety Harbor resident Jim Barge. Those donations alone total $3,500, nearly half of Ayoub's total contributions.

Two companies that handle land development and real estate, National Properties Trust Inc. of Clearwater and Paradise Ventures Inc. of Safety Harbor, gave Ayoub $500 donations.

"The support I'm receiving is based on the community craving a leader who has shown a clear and predictable leadership style and who offers a clear vision for the city with proven results," Ayoub said.

More than half of Steingold's contributions have come from his own personal funds. He has donated or loaned his campaign $4,800.

"Obviously, I'm committed to my campaign. I didn't just put my name on the ballot," he said. "I don't have the developers contributing to my campaign."

Ayoub said, "I think he's bolstering (his campaign) to spend as much as me."

Maher Chevrolet of St. Petersburg gave Steingold $1,000. Greg Soulliere, Maher's executive manager, lives in Safety Harbor.

"I think part of the support (from Soulliere) is related to Joe not doing the will of the people" regarding the development of the Firmenich Citrus Center property, Steingold said.

Soulliere declined to comment.

Safety Harbor resident Steve Steinberg contributed $500 to Steingold's campaign. That was money Steinberg originally gave to Besore's campaign, but he asked for it back after Steingold filed to run.

Besore refunded Steinberg's contribution, though she was not obligated to. "I just felt it was sleazy and I didn't want the money," she said.

Among the candidates for a City Commission seat, Carlos Diaz has raised the most money thus far with $4,065. The Seat 4 candidate got $1,000 from Intellect Technical Solutions, the same company that donated to Ayoub, though both candidates said their campaigns are not connected.

Diaz's opponent, Ray Irvin, has raised $2,400 — $1,000 of it a contribution from Maher Chevrolet. The car dealership also gave $500 to Seat 3 candidate Andy Zodrow, who has raised a total of $3,860.

Irvin said he had no idea the dealership was backing a candidate in three races. But he added that he's not surprised his supporters would also support Steingold and Zodrow.

"I see the three of us as having similar visions," Irvin said.

Zodrow said there has been no formal collaboration among the three campaigns and that they are not running together, although their pamphlets have been distributed together bound by rubber bands. He said he gave some of his supporters a stack of pamphlets and believes they may have packaged his literature with that of Irvin and Steingold.

"I don't mind being associated with them, we're just not formally aligned," Zodrow said.

Zodrow's opponent Dean Harmeson has raised $1,752. Harmeson is the only candidate who hasn't received any large donations of $500 or more.

"This election should be about the best person for the job, not who can raise more money," Harmeson said.

Josh Solomon can be reached at or (727) 445-4155. On Twitter @JSolomonTIMES

Incumbent Safety Harbor mayor has raised the most campaign funds 02/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 6:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Crist votes for measure that includes money for Trump's wall


    WASHINGTON – Rep. Charlie Crist was for it and against it.

  2. Tampa man arrested in fatal motel shooting


    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested on a manslaughter charge Thursday in the death of Yasmine L. Tyson on Monday night.

    Christopher Lee Carithers, 37, of Tampa
  3. St. Pete's Downtown Looper expands service with $900,000 grant


    ST. PETERSBURG ­— The Downtown Looper will expand its route and its hours starting in October 2018 thanks to a $900,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.

    A $900,000 DOT grant will finance two more trolleys, a longer route and longer service hours.
  4. Latest sewage crisis fallout: Higher utility bills in St. Pete

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — For months the cost of the city's sewage crisis has been measured in terms of environmental damage, legal ramifications and political repercussions.

    Now residents are about to get the bill.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage during the height of the city's sewage crisis. Now the City Council is considering how much to raise utility rates to pay the $326 million bill to fix St. Petersburg's sewage system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. Rays add a bat, too, acquiring Lucas Duda from Mets


    The Rays made another big move today, acquiring 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.

    Duda, 31, is a lefty slugger who will take over as the Rays primary DH against right-handers, with Corey Dickerson now playing most of the time in the outfield.

    To get Duda, the Rays gave up minor-league RHP Drew Smith, …

    The Rays acquired 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.