SEMINOLE — One City Council candidate has missed the deadline for turning in a complete report of his campaign finances.
Tom Christy, who is making his fourth bid for a seat on the council, turned in a partial report by Friday's deadline. But while he reported receiving a total of $221.12 in cash donations since Dec. 17 — $17.59 of which he loaned to his campaign — he did not turn in a list of the names of those who contributed. The omission makes it impossible for voters to know who is supporting him.
Seminole City Clerk Rose Benoit said candidates are required to provide that information. Thus far, she said, it's only a matter of letting Christy file an amended report. If he does not do so, Benoit said she will contact the state Elections Commission.
Benoit said she tried contacting Christy on Monday. When she received no response, she contacted him and his campaign treasurer on Tuesday but had received no return call by late morning. The Times was unable Tuesday to reach Christy for comment.
Christy is running against incumbents Jim Quinn and Tom Barnhorn and newcomer Matt Nilssen for the two open seats on the council. The two top vote-getters in the March 12 election will take office.
Christy has run an aggressive campaign so far. He started out by criticizing Quinn as a "complete failure" and "self-serving" but praised Barnhorn on his website, freewebs.com/tchristy2011.
But, more recently, he has criticized both Quinn and Barnhorn calling them "failures" and "low lights."
Christy refers to Quinn as someone who "brings nothing to the table, accomplishes nothing, and, quite frankly, does not know any better. A classic example of someone raised by wolves. A guy with no moral compass. And apparently lacking in any kind of faith or beliefs" and a "self-serving fool."
Barnhorn, he says, "is worse. He has been hanging around our church lately, attempting to create the facade that he is religious. As a Christian, he would only have charitable things to say. But as many of our parish family have noted, he does this at election time, then disappears."
Quinn said, "I'm not even going to acknowledge his ranting and raving. … Let the voters decide based on my record with the city and the accomplishments of the city."
Barnhorn said he believes Christy was upset because he classified the challenger's tactics as "negative campaigning." But Barnhorn said he stands behind his assessment.
"It's just typical negative campaigning," Barnhorn said. "He (says), 'I don't have anything negative to say about anybody,' but that's all he talks about."
Christy's attacks don't seem to be hurting either Quinn or Barnhorn in fundraising.
Quinn reported receiving a total of $3,870.30 in cash and $857.10 in in-kind donations. Of the cash, $2,325.30 was a loan from Quinn to his campaign. But the rest came mostly in small donations. His largest contributions were $500 from the Seminole Garden Men's Club and $250 from Mayor-elect Leslie Waters.
Barnhorn reported receiving a total of $930 in cash and $248 in in-kind contributions. Of the cash, $200 was a loan from himself. Noteworthy contributors included Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni ($50), former Seminole council member Dan Hester and his wife, Mary ($100), former Seminole Mayor Jimmy Johnson ($50), and state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, and his wife, Maureen ($25).
Nilssen loaned himself $155.62. He had no other donations.
Anne Lindberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8450.