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Brandi Gabbard ignores opponent’s call to reject outside money in City Council race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Barclay Harless says he won’t accept any contributions from of more than $1,000 from outside groups in his bid for the St. Petersburg City Council District 2 seat. He’s also calling on his opponent, Brandi Gabbard, to do the same.

“I pledge to not allow any outside group to spend on my behalf, more than the legal allowable contribution limit of $1,000 per election, and I ask my opponent to commit to the same pledge,” Harless said Tuesday. “This will benefit all of the constituents of District 2 and all of St. Pete residents.”

Harless made similar comments near the conclusion of Monday night’s candidate forum featuring all six contenders vying for the three open Council seats.

“I’m committing here and now that I will not support or allow outside groups to spend more than the legal allowable limits on a PAC,” he said, adding that he has chosen not to have his own political action committee “because I believe that money has poisoned our political system.”

“It prevents good decisions from being made, and good people from running for office,” he added, saying that he encouraged everyone else on the dais to join him in that pact.

Gabbard replied with a two-sentence statement Tuesday.

“Our campaign is not obligated to respond to our opponent’s attempts to distract us from the positive campaign we are conducting. I am committed to focusing on the issues that I understand are most important to the people of St. Petersburg.”
Both candidates agreed during Monday night’s debate that they do not support a campaign finance reform measure moving through City Council that would limit individual campaign contributions to $5,000 from political action committees.
Harless said he supports the idea of taking money out of politics, but said he was “circumspect about using city funds to defend” that position in court.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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