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Jay Polgaze spends $10,000 more than his opponent in less than two weeks

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Clearwater City Council member Jay Polgaze continues to trounce his opponent in his re-election bid. Polgaze has brought in more than $22,000 in campaign contributions as of February 12th. His challenger, Robert Cundiff, has raised just $4,329 and much of that has come from self-loans.

Polgaze raised $6,300 from February 1st through February 12th. He raked in several high-dollar contributions including $500 from Clearwater Chamber of Commerce head Brian Aungst Jr. and $500 from his dad, former Clearwater Mayor Brian Aungst.

Former Mayor Frank Hibbard also kicked in $300. Some companies are also donating to Polgaze’s re-election bid. Empower Adventure operations and RBF Properties in Tampa each donated $500. So too did the Phillies baseball team.

Cundiff brought in just four contributions from Clearwater residents Joan Cochan, Joseph Zucchero, Mike Braun and Laura Lynne. Those contributions accounted for just $325 during the latest reporting period. The rest of Cundiff’s campaign earnings came from a $2,500 loan from himself.

Spending in the race is reflective of the two candidates’ earnings. Polgaze spent more than $10,000 during the first half of February while Cundiff spent just $81 on Facebook ads and online contribution fees.

Polgaze spent his money on printing services from Gulf Coast Imprinting and materials from Home Depot. Polgaze has spent $13,392 throughout his entire campaign leaving him with about $8,600 cash on hand.

Cundiff has spent $1,643 so far and has just $2,686 left in the bank.

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.

Cundiff teaches speech communication and public speaking at St. Petersburg College. This is his first bid for elected office.

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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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