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Tom Mullins backs his own St. Pete City Council campaign with $190K

Mullins and opponent Lisset Hanewicz are competing for the District 4 seat being vacated by Darden Rice.
Tom Mullins is a candidate for St. Petersburg City Council District 4.
Tom Mullins is a candidate for St. Petersburg City Council District 4. [ Tom Mullins ]
Published Oct. 24
Updated Oct. 24

Tom Mullins has become the top self-funder in the St. Petersburg City Council race, kicking in $190,100 to his own campaign, nearly all of his fundraising total.

That has given him a big spending edge over his opponent on the Nov. 2 ballot, Lisset Hanewicz.

As of Oct. 8, Hanewicz had raised $108,949 and spent all but about $10,000 of it.

Mullins had taken in $197,655 and had about $15,000 remaining.

They’re competing for the District 4 seat being vacated by Darden Rice. The district runs roughly along the east side of I-275 between 77th Avenue North and 9th Avenue North, taking in Meadowlawn, Crescent Lake and part of Old Northeast.

Mullins said one reason for his heavy self-funding is his profession as a Raymond James investment banker. Government securities industry regulations, plus the company’s own policies, prevent him from soliciting contributions from clients and fellow employees.

“My natural fundraising base is off-limits. I knew that going in,” he said.

He also said news coverage of his personal financial disclosures, showing a net worth near $32 million, caused his contributions to dry up.

“I wish (campaigning) was free but it does cost money,” Mullins said. He accused Hanewicz of pressuring interest groups and unions for contributions.

District 4 St. Petersburg City Council candidate Lisset Hanewicz.
District 4 St. Petersburg City Council candidate Lisset Hanewicz. [ Lisset Hanewicz ]

Hanewicz, however, called Mullins’ self-funding “a pretty clear indication that he doesn’t have the community support,” and said, “Money doesn’t buy happiness or hopefully elections.”

Contact William March at wemarch@gmail.com.