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Jay Polgaze re-election fundraiser set for Feb. 8

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Clearwater City Council member Jay Polgaze is hosting a re-election fundraiser Monday, February 8 from 5:30 to 7:00 at Island Way Grill on Clearwater Beach. Polgaze is the only incumbent up for re-election this year to have drawn a challenger in the March election.

In an invitation sent to potential supporters, Clearwater Chamber of Commerce chair Brian Aungst Jr. urged voters to offer their support.

“As you know, Jay is a veteran and a member of the Clearwater community since 1969,” Aungst wrote. “He has been endorsed by the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce’s Political Committee ClearPAC and we really need to support his re-election effort as he does have an opponent.”

Polgaze is seeking his second term after having been elected in 2012. He currently serves as Vice Mayor. Polgaze worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 29 years and is a U.S. Army veteran.

Polgaze also serves as an executive board member for the American Cancer Society of Pinellas and sits on the Citizens Advisory Council of the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Polgaze also served on the Clearwater Downtown Development board and is a two-time member of the city’s Charter Review Committee.

He faces 70-year old St. Petersburg College teacher Robert Cundiff. Cundiff teaches speech communication and public speaking. This is his first bid for elected office.

Polgaze is already outspending his opponent. As of the end of December, Polgaze had raised more than $13,000 compared to Cundiff’s $1,070.

Polgaze has drawn high-profile support from Pinellas County Commissioners Janet Long, Charlie Justice and John Morroni as well as Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Tax Collector Diane Nelson.

The two face off at the polls March 15 as part of the down-ballot in the Presidential Preference Primary. Though the presidential races are closed primaries, voters may vote in municipal races regardless of party affiliation.

Maximum contributions for candidates are $1,000 for individuals or corporate entities. Any contributions exceeding $100 require disclosure of the person’s name, address and occupation.

Island Way Grill is located at 20 Island Way in Clearwater.

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Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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