Bubba the Love Sponge a big donor to Pinellas sheriff's campaign

Bubba the Love Sponge Clem ran against Pinellas Sheriff Jim Coats in 2004, but this election cycle, the shock jock is one of Coats' biggest donors.

He and his companies gave $3,350 to Coats in the last campaign reporting period, which covers the last week of August and the first two of September.

That sum is roughly 65 percent of the money Coats raised. It came in addition to $500 Clem gave Coats in December.

Why the enthusiasm for the sheriff?

"I just got a lot of respect for the guy," Clem said. "I don't want anything. I just want him to keep being a good sheriff."

Coats said that he had appeared on Clem's radio show earlier in the year to talk about the agency's budget problems. He said Clem called him in advance to say he'd be donating a lot of money to the campaign because he thought Coats was the best person for the job.

Brent Hatley, executive producer of the Bubba Radio Network, said that he and Clem were impressed with Coats as a "genuinely honest man" who takes his job "very seriously."

During the 2004 campaign, Clem said the sheriff was always very honest and aboveboard.

He said he respects the way Coats pushed back against the County Commission over the last year to fight against budget cuts.

To date, Clem has given $1,000 to Coats under his own name. He also sent money to the campaign through seven corporations:

• The Bubba Radio Network ($500).

• Bubba Army ($500).

• BRN Shock Media ($500).

• BTLS Web Media ($500).

• B3H Web Holdings ($100).

• BRN Travel, Inc. ($250).

• Intense Frequency ($500).

Clem promised $2,000 or $3,000 more from people including his wife, Heather, and his producer, Hatley.

The donations add to Coats' large fundraising lead.

So far, Coats has brought in $150,116.81, of which he has spent $42,203.01. He said he plans to buy radio commercials in the near future, if he can afford it.

Democratic candidate Randall Jones raised $28,571.05 and spent $21,394.53.

Meanwhile, write-in candidate Gregory S. Pound, who was detained according to the Baker Act earlier this month, was the only contributor to his campaign. He has spent $9.

Bubba the Love Sponge a big donor to Pinellas sheriff's campaign 09/23/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 25, 2008 12:05pm]

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