Seminole mayor endorses in judicial, property appraiser races

Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters issued endorsements in three races over the weekend.

Leslie Waters
Leslie Waters

Waters endorsed Dora Komninos and Myriam Irizarry who are running for seats on the bench. She also endorsed former state Rep. Jim Frishe for Pinellas County property appraiser.

“I endorse Dora Komninos for County Court judge of Group 8,” Waters said. “Her intensive experience prosecuting domestic violence cases would serve the citizens well with Dora on the bench.”

Komninos is an assistant state attorney who is facing Tampa lawyer Curtis “CK” Korsko. He also serves as a hearing officer for civil traffic offenses.

Waters praised Irizarry as being a trailblazer.

“Judge Myriam Irizarry has always been a trailblazer throughout her life beginning with a humble beginning in Puerto Rico, through college and law school, to adjunct college professor, to general council of the Pinellas County clerk’s office, to becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve as a judge in Pinellas County,” Waters said.

She added, “I hold Judge Irizarry in high regard, and will be voting for her so she may continue to blaze a trail for us all.”

Irizarry is running for re-election to County Court judge Group 9. She is facing a challenge from state Rep. Dwight Dudley.

Jim Frishe
Jim Frishe

In the race for Pinellas County property appraiser, Waters said she’ll be voting for Frishe.

“Jim Frishe is a long-time and loyal Republican dating back to his appointment by President Ronald Reagan as White House delegate to a NATO conference,” Waters said.

“Jim’s extensive experience as a state legislator, a businessman, community volunteer, and real estate broker will be very beneficial to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s Office. I will be voting for Jim Frishe for property appraiser.”

Frishe is running against first-time candidate Mike Twitty, a real estate appraiser. The office is currently held by Pam Dubov who is retiring and entering the ministry.

The races for judicial and property appraiser’s offices are non-partisan. Anyone can vote for the candidates in the Aug. 30 election.

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Bob Gualtieri, Mike Twitty far ahead in fundraising for Pinellas posts

With less than a month to go before the Aug. 30 primary, Mike Twitty continues to swamp Jim Frishe in the fundraising race.

Twitty, who’s running his first campaign, has raised about 2 ½ times more than political veteran Frishe, a former state representative. The two Republicans are vying to be the next Pinellas County property appraiser. Incumbent Pam Dubov is not running for reelection.

Twitty raised $370 in the six-days between July 23 and 29, the most recent reporting period. That brings his campaign total to about $141,341. Frishe, a former state representative, raised only $75 during that same period. His overall fundraising total is about $57,413.

Twitty’s lead in fundraising also gives him an advantage when it comes to campaign spending. He and Frishe have each spent a large chunk of their monies. Twitty has spent about $130,384 to Frishe’s $31,328.

Twitty and Frishe will face off in the Aug. 30 primary. The winner will go on to face write-in candidate write-in candidate Joseph John Catalano in the Nov. 8 general election.

Bob GualtieriIn the other contested race among Pinellas’ constitutional officers, Republican incumbent Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has raised almost 18 times as much as James McLynas. McLynas has no party affiliation. Write-in candidate Greg Pound has raised no money.

Gualtieri raised that money before July 8. He has raised no money since then. McLynas showed no fundraising for the period from July 23 to July 29.

There is no primary in the Pinellas sheriff’s race. The three will face each other in the Nov. 8 general election.

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In first campaign video, Mike Twitty says Jim Frishe has history of raising taxes

Mike Twitty, who’s running for Pinellas County property appraiser released a new video ad today.

The ad, available on YouTube, touts Twitty’s 26 years of experience as a property appraiser in Pinellas County. Twitty says in the ad that his experience makes him aware that you have to get appraisals and property taxes right.

Twitty, as he has since the beginning of the campaign, portrays Republican primary opponent Jim Frishe as a “career politician.” Twitty charges that Frishe, a former state representative, has a “long record of raising taxes.”

Thus far in the race, Twitty has outdistanced Frishe in fundraising. At the end of last month, the most recent figures available, Twitty had raised $139,170. Frishe had raised $55,762.98.

The two are scheduled to appear tonight at a forum jointly sponsored by the Council of North County Neighborhoods and the Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce. The evening starts with a meet and greet at 6 p.m. at the Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave.

The property appraiser’s seat is currently held by Pam Dubov, who is not running for reelection. The winner of the Aug. 30 primary will face write-in candidate Joseph John Catalano in the Nov. 8 general election.

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North Pinellas county candidate forum set for Monday

The Council of North County Neighborhoods is holding a candidates forum Monday night.

The forum, which is co-sponsored by the Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce, will feature candidates who will appear on north Pinellas ballots in the Aug. 30 election. That election is for party primaries and nonpartisan races.

Pinellas County School Board member Peggy O’Shea said all but one candidate would be at Monday’s event. The CNCN, she said, is still waiting to hear from Robert J. Beal, a last-minute candidate in the race for the District 1 at-large seat on the School Board.

Those who have accepted are Jim Frishe and Mike Twitty, who are running in the Republican primary for Pinellas County property appraiser.

In the nonpartisan races, Dora Komninos and Curtis “CK” Korsko, candidates for County Judge, Group 8 have said they will be at the forum as have Dwight Dudley and Myriam Irizarry, candidates for County Judge, Group 9.

Bill Dudley, Joanne Lentino and Matt Stewart, who are running for the District 1 at-large seat on the School Board, have said they plan to attend. So have Ken Peluso and Eileen Long, who are running for the single-member District 4 seat on the School Board. The District 1 seat is voted on countywide. Only residents of north Pinellas will see the District 4 race on the ballot.

Property Appraiser Pam Dubov will also be there to explain Amendment 4, which would give certain tax exemptions for solar energy improvements.

The event will start at 6 p.m. with a mix and mingle at the Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave. The forum will begin at 6:30 p.m.

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Mike Twitty is winning the fundraising race for Pinellas Property Appraiser

Political newcomer Mike Twitty has raised almost two and a half times more money than Jim Frishe in the race for Pinellas Property Appraiser.

Twitty’s latest report shows he raised $1,650 in June, bringing his total to $133,185. Frishe, a former state Representative, brought in $225 last month for a total $54,962.98. The third person in the race, write-in candidate Joseph John Catalano has raised no money.

Twitty could draw further ahead this month. He has a fundraiser scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Courtside Grille, 110 Fountain Parkway N, St. Pete.

Sponsors include the current Property Appraiser Pam Dubov and a roster of who’s who in local Republican politics, including state Sen. Jeff Brandes, former Pinellas County Commissioners Susan Latvala and Neil Brickfield, Clerk of Court Ken Burke, outgoing tax collector Diane Nelson, and Mayors Woody Brown of Largo, Travis Palladeno of Madeira Beach, and Bill Queen of North Redington Beach.

The primary election is Aug. 30.

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Horse race begins for Pinellas Sheriff, property appraiser

Voters will have a choice of candidates for Pinellas County Sheriff and property appraiser on Nov. 8 with three candidates running for each of the seats.

Other candidates for Pinellas’ constitutional offices drew no opponents. Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark and Clerk of Court Ken Burke, both Republicans, were re-elected without opposition. First-time candidate Charles W. Thomas, also a Republican, will be Pinellas’ new tax collector. He will replace Republican Diane Nelson, who is retiring.

In the sheriff’s race, incumbent Republican Bob Gualtieri will face James McLynas, who has no party affiliation, and last-minute write-in candidate Greg S. Pound. Republican Josh Black had announced he would run against Gualtieri but failed to qualify, according to the elections supervisor’s website. Democrat Paul Congemi had also announced he would run for sheriff, but his campaign never took off.

In the race for Pinellas property appraiser, Republicans Jim Frishe and Mike Twitty will face write-in candidate Joseph John Catalano. The winner will replace Pam Dubov who is not seeking re-election.

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Ken Burke, Deborah Clark, Charles Thomas pre-qualify, with no opposition

It’s the first day of qualifying for the upcoming elections and several candidates for Pinellas’ constitutional offices have pre-qualified. Three have no opposition, so far.

Ken Burke, who’s running for re-election to the clerk of court’s office, and Deborah Clark, seeking re-election as the supervisor of elections, have both pre-qualified. So has Charles Thomas, a first-time candidate who’s seeking to replace his boss, Diane Nelson, who is retiring as Pinellas County tax collector. All three Republicans are unopposed thus far.

Also pre-qualified are Mike Twitty and Joseph John Catalano who are running for property appraiser, a job currently held by Pam Dubov, who is not seeking re-election. Jim Frishe, a former state representative, is also seeking the seat but he has not qualified yet. Twitty and Frishe are Republicans. Catalano is running as a write-in candidate.

So far, none of the announced candidates for sheriff have qualified. Incumbent Bob Gualtieri has three possible opponents so far – Josh Black and James McLynas, both Republicans, and Paul Congemi, a Democrat, who is listed as inactive on the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections website.

ken_burke  deborah_clark   Charles Thomas  Mike Twitty  Jim Frishe  Bob Gualtieri  Josh Black  James McLynas

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Lack of competition hasn’t slowed down fundraising for some Pinellas County candidates

There aren’t too many candidates running for each of the Pinellas County constitutional officer posts up for election in 2016, but that doesn’t mean the donation money isn’t flowing.

According to the Supervisor of Elections’ most recent finance reports, in the Pinellas Property Appraiser race, Mike Twitty, a political newcomer and 25-year professional real estate appraiser, is handily out-fundraising his lone opponent, fellow Republican and former state Rep. Jim Frishe, $120,820 to $44,065.

Current Pinellas Property Appraiser Pam Dubov is stepping down at the end of her current term. She endorsed Twitty as her successor back in 2015.

Meanwhile, Pinellas’ Sherif, Bob Gualtieri, has raised an impressive $118,505 since filing to run for re-election back in November of last year.

In April alone, Gualtieri brought in $31,950 on 50 donations. It was his best month since January, a month in which the Sheriff raised $62,785 on 189 donations.

Gualtieri’s complete campaign expenditure total only amounts to about $8,000, the majority of which has gone towards paying for food and drinks for fundraisers, as well as printing and postage fees.

His only competition so far is fellow Republican Joshua Black, a St. Petersburg activist who just jumped into the race for Sheriff last month. So far, he’s only raised $20 for his campaign.

Over in the one-man Clerk of the Circuit Court race, Republican — and long-time incumbent — Ken Burke has raised $35,604 for his re-election campaign, none of which taken in April. His total expenditures come in at just under $4,000.

Pinellas’ current Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark is also running for re-election. And, like Burke, she has no filed competition. To fund her campaign, the Republican loaned herself $11,000. She also received a $500 check from St. Petersburg attorney Susan Churuti back in March but raised nothing before or since. Her campaign purse is holding exactly $11,500.

As for Pinellas’ Tax Collector spot, Republican Charles Thomas is the only person filed to run the office. Pinellas’ longtime tax collector, Republican Diane Nelson, is opting for retirement rather than another term and Thomas was her handpicked successor.

Thomas, who served as Pinellas’ Chief Deputy Tax Collector since 2000, only began his election efforts last month, but his campaign wallet is already holding $30,000. About $12,000 came from donations while Thomas funded the rest himself.

Thomas’ host committee includes six of Pinellas’ seven constitutional officers: Nelson, Public Defender Bob Dillinger, State Attorney Bernie McCabe, Clerk of the Court Ken Burke, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, and outgoing Property Appraiser Pam Dubov.

The primaries are August 30; the General Election is November 30.

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Mike Twitty adds to fundraising lead over Jim Frishe in Pinellas Property Appraiser race

In the race for Pinellas County’s Property Appraiser post, Mike Twitty is continuing to out-fundraise his lone opponent, fellow Republican Jim Frishe.

According to the latest campaign finance reports from the Supervisor of Elections, Frishe hauled in $3,750 on six donations in April. Not a bad showing, considering that until now he hasn’t raised over $650 in any monthly reporting period since the start of 2016.

Twitty, however, had a stronger showing, coming close to doubling Frishe’s April fundraising total, reeling in $6,620 on 47 donations last month.

As for the source of Frishe’s six donations, two maximum allowable $1,000 contributions came from PAC’s: Tampa’s Creating Possibilities, and St. Petersburg’s Suncoast Better Government Committee, respectively.

St. Petersburg real estate developer Mel Sembler also kicked in $1,000. While Pinellas Park Doctor Gary Heller contributed $500 to the Frishe campaign.

The other two donations to the Frishe camp came from retirees.

Twitty, on the other hand, had a wider array of donors.

Palm Harbor’s Prior Marina gave the only $1,000 April donation to the Twitty campaign, while Indian Shores redevelopment company Page Companies, and Belleair Beach retiree Kelly Coleman gave the only two $500 donations.

Twitty also grabbed donations from a couple of area politicians in former St. Pete City Council candidate and Democrat Winthrop Newton, and current St. Pete City Councilman Ed Montanari, who each gave $100.

Overall, Twitty is leading the fundraising race by a count of $120,820 to Frishe’s $44,065.

Frishe, however, does have a moderately hard-hitting list of support. His endorsers include State Sen. Jack Latvala, former State Rep. Ed Hooper, Treasure Island Mayor Bob Minning, and Gulfport City Councilman Dan Liedtke.

Although, Twitty’s list of supporters might stack even higher — and weigh a bit more too. In his corner are Montanarioutgoing Pinellas Property Appraiser Pam Dubov, Pinellas County Clerk of the Court Ken Burke, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, and longtime Pinellas Tax Collector Diane Nelson, among others.

The Republican primary is August 30.

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Pinellas Property Appraiser candidate Mike Twitty glad to have support from “trifecta of constitutional officers”

If you’re running for a county property appraiser post, who better to impress than your potential fellow constitutional officers?

Mike Twitty has a solid list of backers, but he made sure to take some time during his Wednesday evening fundraiser at Ferg’s to thank a few of the elected officials with whom he may end up working closest.

“I really appreciate having the support of what I [call] our trifecta of constitutional officers,” said Twitty to a considerable crowd of supporters.

The officers he was referring to were Pinellas Tax Collector Diane Nelson, Clerk of Court Ken Burke, and outgoing Property Appraiser Pam Dubov — all of whom have endorsed the 48-year-old Republican and 25-year professional real estate appraiser.

“I really appreciate their support,” continued Twitty. “They understand that appraising 450,000 parcels of real estate and tangible personal property, every year, leading three offices with 130 people — where you’ve got everything from customer service to IT staff and obviously a lot of appraisers to appraise all those parcels every year — is a big task. And nobody knows that better than those three. So their endorsement means the world to me.”

Twitty is running against fellow Republican and former state Rep. Jim Frishe.

Twitty says he has considerably more experience in the appraisal field than Frishe.

“I understand this office. I know how important it is, and I want it to be in good hands moving forward,” added Twitty, a Pinellas County native, during his Ferg’s fundraiser. “I understand what kind of vital role it plays in the county dynamics and in keeping our level of services where they need to be.”

According to campaign literature, one of Twitty’s priorities involves protecting taxpayer dollars by, “identifying areas to cut spending and streamline the system to ensure the taxpayers’ dollars are used wisely, with full accountability.”

He’d also like to modernize the property appraiser office, in order “to increase efficiency and provide taxpayers with greater access to the information they need.”

The Republican primary is August 30. The General Election is November 8.

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