With qualifying beginning Thursday in St. Petersburg’s high-profile mayoral race, Rick Baker is continuing to raise money at a fervent pace.
The former mayor has set a fundraiser for Wednesday in downtown St. Petersburg, this one being hosted by local political heavyweights Darryl LeClair and Terry McCarthy.
Snell Isle resident LeClair heads Echelon, a residential and commercial development company. Echelon has been a major developer in Pinellas, helping transform Carillon into a business park that is now home to companies such as Raymond James Financial and Franklin Templeton.
LeClair was also behind a 2012 proposal to develop property in the Gateway area as a potential home for a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium with office buildings, hotels, restaurants, bars and shops surrounding a ballpark. The plan stalled after a lack of interest by Major League Baseball or the Rays in the site.
McCarthy is the owner of the property development and management firm TJM Properties, which oversees the management of 2000 assisted living, memory care, and independent living units. TJM also owns several full-service hotel properties, including the site of the former Atlantic Club Casino, located on the famed Atlantic City boardwalk. Among TJM’s St. Petersburg holdings are The Stanton Hotel/Apartments, The Whitney Hotel and Valley Forge.
The event for Baker is being held at The Princess Martha, a historical landmark owned by McCarthy.
Baker, who served two terms as mayor from 2001-2010, entered the race on May 8, making the formal announcement on the steps of City Hall the next day. He is seeking to unseat incumbent Rick Kriseman.
Most recently, Baker, as president of The Edwards Group, had been the public face of the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ successful efforts in a public referendum to extend the team’s lease at Al Lang Stadium. The 25-year extension is part of a plan to attract a Major League Soccer franchise slot for St. Petersburg later this year.
On April 11, Baker supporters registered Seamless Florida, the political committee tied to Baker’s campaign. The committee’s name is a take on one of Baker’s books on governing.