Kathy Castor Archives - Page 5 of 28 - SaintPetersBlog

Congressman, civil rights icon John Lewis: Vote, vote, vote

Charlie Crist
Charlie Crist

Civil rights icon John Lewis, now a congressman from Georgia, came to St. Petersburg on Wednesday to support former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Crist, a Democrat, is running against Republican incumbent David Jolly for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

Lewis, who has represented Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since 1986, said he had followed Crist’s career.

“I’m delighted and very pleased and honored to be standing here with you,” Lewis told Crist. “I’m here to support you. I’m looking forward to getting things done.”

Lewis said Crist could help make things better not only for the CD 13, but also the state of Florida and the U.S.

Crist said he was “grateful beyond words” for Lewis’ support. If elected, he said, he looked forward to working with Lewis.

The two spoke at a press conference outside the Greater Mount Zion AME Church, 1045 16th St. S. The two had been part of a meeting and prayer inside the church before speaking. Others who joined them included former St. Petersburg Council Member Wengay Newton, who is running for state House District 70, and Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor was unable to attend but sent a representative from her office.

Lewis was not in town only to support Crist. He also urged residents to get out and “vote, vote, vote.”

A vote “is powerful,” Lewis said. He added, “I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma for the right to vote.”

Lewis was referring to an incident on March 7, 1965, that has become known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Lewis and Hosea Williams, another civil rights advocate, had planned to lead 600 peaceful, orderly protestors in a march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in Alabama. They got as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma when state troopers and local police blocked the way and demanded they turn around. When they refused, they were tear gassed and beaten with billy clubs.

A successful march was held later that month with federal protection. And, that August, the Voting Rights Act was passed.

Lewis was also scheduled to appear at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus to discuss civil rights. Later, he was scheduled to tour Jordan Park.

Early voting in Pinellas ends Sunday. Election Day is Tuesday.

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Former St. Pete Representative Rudy Bradley stars in David Jolly’s latest ad

 

David Jolly again revives Charlie Crist‘s visit to a prison in Alabama where he observed a literal prison chain gang in 1995 in a new ad running on television and online.

The ad, called “See How it Feels,” stars former St. Petersburg Democrat-turned-Republican state lawmaker Rudy Bradley, who looks sternly into the camera and says the incident is personal to him, “because he forced my brother-in-law, Harry K. Singletary, to watch.”

Singletary was selected as Florida’s Secretary of the Department of Corrections by then-Gov. Lawton Chiles. He accompanied Crist to Limestone Correctional Institution in Alabama in June of 1995 to see how that state ran its chain gang program, a legislative interest of then-state Sen. Crist at the time.

“Harry felt sick because Crist felt joy in black men being humiliated,” Bradley says in the ad. A graphic flashes on the screen with a quote that “Singletary was visibly sickened,” citing a Sunshine State News story from 2014 written by columnist Nancy Smith.

Bradley served in the Florida House from 1994-2000. He was initially elected as a Democrat, but then switched parties and became a Republican.

This is the second digital ad Jolly has aired referring to the incident, which Jolly first brought to the campaign during the first debate between the two candidates in September.

Crist has responded he supported chain gangs because of the high crime rate in Florida. When confronted by Jolly in that debate, Crist pivoted and attempted to put Jolly on the defensive, saying the notion his tough-on-crime stance had anything to do with race was simply “appalling.”

Florida’s 13th Congressional District was redistricted last year, making it much more Democratic-friendly, in large part because of the inclusion of parts of St. Petersburg GOP lawmakers had previously carved out and left for Congressional District 14 Democrat Kathy Castor to inherit from across Tampa Bay. The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the district should no longer cross the water, making it more compact.

Polls have been all over the place in the race, but there’s no doubt that Jolly needs to sway a certain percentage of Democrats to switch over and vote for him to allow him to retain the seat. The revival of the “Chain-Gang Charlie” persona of the mid 1990s is part of that strategy.

Watch the video below:

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Realtors backs David Singer in HD 60 race

The Greater Tampa Realtors unveiled their list of endorsements in the upcoming election on Tuesday, and one of their most provocative selections is choosing Democrat David Singer over Republican Jackie Toledo in the House District 60 campaign.

The Realtors made 20 selections in all: 10 Republicans, six Democrats, and four candidates running in nonpartisan races.

All of the Democrats, except one, the Realtors are backing are incumbents or, in some cases, running in open seats where they are heavily favored: CD 14 Rep. Kathy Castor, SD 19 Senate candidate Darryl Rouson, Hillsborough Clerk of the Court Pat Frank, Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez, and HD 70 Representative candidate Wengay Newton.

The exception is Singer, the Tampa land-use attorney who is an extremely competitive battle against engineer Jackie Toledo for the Hillsborough County House District 60 race. Toledo narrowly defeated businesswoman Rebecca Smith in the GOP primary back in August.

In a press release, the Realtors say the candidates endorsed have been selected based on their position on issues, “particularly those affecting real estate and private property rights.”

The full list of endorsed candidates is listed below:

  • Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator
  • Gus Bilirakis, U.S. Representative, District 12
  • Kathy Castor, U.S. Representative, District 14
  • Dennis Ross, U.S. Representative, District 15
  • Vern Buchanan, U.S. Representative, District 16
  • Dana Young, Florida Senate, District 18
  • Darryl Rouson, Florida Senate, District 19
  • Daniel Raulerson, State Representative, District 58
  • Ross Spano, State Representative, District 59
  • David Singer, State Representative, District 60
  • Shawn Harrison, State Representative, District 63
  • Wengay “Newt” Newton, State Representative, District 70
  • Mark Ober, State Attorney, Circuit 13
  • Pat Frank, Hillsborough County Clerk of Circuit Court
  • Bob Henriquez, Hillsborough County Property Appraiser
  • Sandra Murman, Hillsborough County Commissioner, District 1
  • Melissa Polo, Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 24
  • Joe Jordon-Robinson, Hillsborough County School Board, District 5
  • Lynn Gray, Hillsborough County School Board, District 7
  • Frank Chillura, Temple Terrace City Council
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As early voting begins, Missouri U.S. Rep Emanuel Cleaver praises Florida’s system

Early voting commenced in Hillsborough County (and 49 other counties in Florida) on Monday, and by the end of the day, 18,887 voters had turned up at the polls, according to Supervisor of Elections Craig Lattimer.

On Tuesday, USA Today reported Hillsborough County is one of the premier bellwether areas of the country when it comes to electing a president. Hillsborough has picked the winner in 19 of the last 20 presidential elections, and the Hillary Clinton campaign is pulling out all the stops this week to highlight the beginning of early voting. Actress Angela Bassett and actor Josh Gad held events today, and on Monday, Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver made his way to Tampa, where he said he was envious of Florida’s approach to elections.

“I hope people in Florida realize how fortunate they are that they have early voting,” Cleaver said while appearing with Tampa Rep. Kathy Castor at the College Hill Library in East Tampa. “I think early voting is an indication that there are people in Florida who believe that maximizing democracy is getting as many people out to vote as possible. In Missouri, we are not quite that enlightened.”

In fact, the “Show Me State” is in the minority of just 13 states around the country that don’t offer early voting.

Missouri used to have the reputation as a so-called bellwether during presidential elections, but that hasn’t been the case over the past couple of elections, when the state when red while the nation chose Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. However, while Missouri was considered relatively safe for the GOP going into this year, Cleaver says it has now suddenly become competitive because of the U.S. Senate race between GOP incumbent Roy Blount and Democratic hopeful Jason Kander (though the RealClearPolitics average right now still shows Donald Trump with a seven-point margin in Mizzou).

Although national and state polls vary, Democrats are increasingly optimistic the election results will be favorable to their cause, causing Castor and Cleaver to hope that the divisions in Congress can be swept away to begin getting matters accomplished for the American people.

“That’s what we’re going to have to do after this election,” Castor said on Monday. “We’ve got significant issues, boosting the economy, cutting student loan debt, what’s going on all across the world with terrorism. We’ve got to keep America safe, and these are going to be the kind of problems that will require everybody coming together to tackle.”

“Democracy demands compromise. That is the only way it’s going to work, so I hope that the Republicans will work with Hillary Clinton, because she’s probably going to be one of the easiest individuals that we’ve had in the Oval Office in a long time,” said Cleaver, who supported Clinton over Obama in 2008. “It’s almost treasonous not to do things that we need. We need a highway bill, we need desperately tax reform, all kinds of things that we need to do in the best interests of the American public. And to say I’m not going to work with a human being for some puny, political reason? It’s treasonous.”

Cleaver believes Obama never had a chance with congressional Republicans after his victory in 2008. “There was no way that the Republicans were going to work with Barack Obama,” he says. “They had made up their minds before the swearing in that they were not going to work with him.”

Cleaver also dismissed any allegations there could be fraud at the election polls on Nov. 8, as frequently cited by Trump. “We’re embarrassed that this movement that is going around the country actually is an attempt to stop people from voting,” he said.

The St. Louis-Post Dispatch did report Monday that prosecutors in St. Louis County, Missouri are investigating vote fraud allegations, specifically whether the mayor and his supporters illegally interfered with the absentee ballot process.

Joining Castor and Emanuel was Hillsborough Clerk of the Courts Pat Frank, also on the ballot next month against Republican Eric Seidel.

“That is absolutely absurd,” she charges. “Let me tell you; in Hillsborough County, we have electronic machines, but we have a paper trail. There is a backup to the electronics, and most of the counties in Florida went in that direction when they started to remove their old machines. So you can always determine what the vote was by an accurate count of the paper. And other states have adopted the same measure, so you’d have to have a gigantic corruption scheme in place, which is impossible in this country.”

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Frank Sanchez aligns with Bob Buckhorn to support the TPP — not so much on Cuba

On NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday, a group of reporters discussed the possible fissures that will be evident in the Democratic Party as early as next month when President Obama attempts to get the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal through a lame-duck session of Congress.

Bernie Sanders‘ strong opposition to the pact between the U.S. and 11 other nations appeared to be a factor in Hillary Clinton‘s flip-flop on the issue. Clinton had previously declared the deal set the “gold standard in trade agreements.”

The deal not only divides Democrats nationally, but also in Tampa, where Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been an unflagging champion for the deal, while Congresswoman Kathy Castor has said the agreement is centered around “promoting powerful special interests rather than American values and jobs.”

Former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce Frank Sanchez sides with Buckhorn’s take on the deal.

“I think the Trans-Pacific Partnership is misunderstood by a lot of people, and I applaud Bob for having the courage to take on an issue that is at odds with a lot of people in our party,” Sanchez said last Tuesday, where he was hosting a discussion with Hispanic leaders for Democratic Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy in West Tampa.

“I’m a lifelong proud Democrat, but on the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, I think some members of our party have it wrong,” Sanchez says. “I applaud Bob for what he’s doing, and I think Tampa is very fortunate in having him run the city.”

Sanchez currently serves as chairman of CNS Global Advisors, a Washington-based consulting group that helps companies break into international markets. He says he’s utilizing the knowledge and expertise in this position that he gained while working from in the Obama administration. His visit home last week also gave him time to take his 91-year-old mother, Delia, to the Goody Goody for lunch.

Sanchez has served in two Democratic administrations. In 1999 and 2000, he worked for Bill Clinton, first as a special assistant to the president, and then as assistant secretary in the Department of Transportation.

In 2003, Sanchez ran for mayor in Tampa, where he narrowly edged out Buckhorn to get into the runoff election against Pam Iorio, to whom he ultimately lost. Though the two men are friends and agree on the TPP,  they differ on another international issue — that being Cuba, and specifically whether Tampa would be an ideal host for a Cuban consulate.

“We’re not going to agree on everything,” Sanchez says. Buckhorn has said he is neutral on the proposal; he does not support it but will not actively work against it.

Sanchez is a strong proponent of President Obama’s incremental moves over the past 22 months to re-establish more relations with the Raul Castro-led Cuban government.

“I think it was the right move,” Sanchez says, adding that of the three stated goals of U.S. policy towards the island — promoting democracy, protecting human rights, and respecting property rights — none have come to fruition under the old policy. “So let’s try a different strategy. Let’s try engagement to see if it can make a difference for the Cuban people. So I think what the president did is going to be good for the Cuban people, and honestly I think good for America to engage.”

Last Wednesday at the J.C. Newman Cigar company in V.M. Ybor, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — like Sanchez, a Cuban-American — criticized the Obama administration’s moves with regard to Cuba, telling reporters in Tampa that there has been no reciprocity from the Castro government in regards to human rights since the diplomatic breakthrough.

“What I would say to Marco Rubio is that we’ve been rewarding those guys for 60 years and giving them an excuse to blaming us for every problem they have. It’s not our fault, it’s their failed economic policies. We’ve taken that excuse away. It was an old policy that gave them that, so we’ve taken that away, so with all due respect to the good senator, he’s wrong,” Sanchez said.

“One of the things that I did when I was still undersecretary was come to Tampa and help them go through a planning session on how to help businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, get into global markets and how the community can create a comprehensive strategy to support business,” he said. “The reason that’s important is that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the borders of the U.S., and there’s a growing middle class outside the borders of the U.S., so if American businesses don’t take advantage this, they’re leaving a lot of opportunity on the table. And we’re helping them with this.”

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Marco Rubio decries FDA regulations over cigars while visiting Tampa factory

Marco Rubio‘s re-election campaign brought him to a 13o-year-old cigar factory in Tampa Wednesday, where he blasted proposed federal rules which could severely harm it and other cigar manufacturers in the U.S.

A recent FDA ruling initially intended to regulate smokeless tobacco products, but summarily expanded to include cigars, would compel manufacturers like the J.C. Newman Company to go through a rigorous and costly application before any new product could go on the market. Officials said the imposed verification process would radically slow the rate of new cigars going on shelves as well as the number of new cigars in general.

“This is one more added cost to production. It’s going to put these companies unfortunately out of business,” said Rubio, who received a tour of the factory before addressing the media. “When you tell any company you can no longer offer new products, without going through a very expensive process, any industry … I don’t care what you sell … you’re going to struggle to survive, especially facing unfair foreign competition.”

Eric Newman, president of the 130-year-old J.C. Newman Company located in Tampa’s V.M. Ybor section, calls the new proposal “draconian,” and said it would cost his company $2.5 million in compliance costs to fully implement.

Rubio and his U.S. Senate colleague from Florida, Democrat Bill Nelson, initially introduced legislation called the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing & Small Business Jobs Preservation Act” in 2011, which would remove the FDA’s jurisdiction over the premium cigar industry by amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor filed similar legislation in the House. They’ve introduced similar bills in the 2013 and 2015 sessions, to no avail. Rubio said that he and Nelson would again push for that bill’s passage before the end of the year.

Rubio was joined by Tampa state House District 60 Republican Dana Young, who, like Rubio, is on the ballot next month, where she is running for the Senate District 18 seat.

“This is a classic example of how in a bipartisan way, at the state and federal level, we can work together and try to stop both regulations of small businesses like this one and needless red tape involved with lumping in one product that is part of our culture with others that cause harm to the public,” she said.

Adding insult to injury, both Newman and Rubio said, was President Obama’s announcement last Friday that it is eliminating a $100 limit on the value of Cuban rum and cigars that American travelers can bring back from the island. Travelers can now purchase unlimited quantities of Cuban cigars in any country where they are sold but they can only be for personal use and cannot be sold.

“We love the competition,” insisted Newman, but said it wouldn’t be a fair fight between his cigars and the ones imported from Cuba, since they won’t be required to do the compliance costs the FDA requires of American cigar manufacturers.

“At a time when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton talk about bringing back American manufacturing jobs … the American government wants to shut us down, ” Newman said. “We’re horrified by that.”

Rubio also fielded questions on his Senate campaign, where the polls have suddenly tightened with Democrat Patrick Murphy with less than three weeks to go before Election Day.

“You don’t win in Florida in a presidential year as a Republican by 10 points. Or even by five points,” he said. “It is becoming the race I knew it would, which is a close race.” He then spent several moments listing what he said were his achievements in the Senate in the past six years.

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Charlie Crist is needed in the U.S. House, congresswomen say

Crist Kriseman Lee FrankelFormer Gov. Charlie Crist and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman gave two members of the U.S. Congress an up close look at some of the challenges the city is facing with its outdated sewer system.

In turn, they urged support for Charlie Crist in the upcoming election. Crist is running for the Congressional District 13 seat held by Republican David Jolly.

Crist said he asked U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee and Lois Frankel to tour the Southwest Water Treatment Plant, 3800 54th Ave. S to educate them and make them aware of the problem. The federal government, he said, could provide St. Pete with funding to help offset the multi-million dollar cost of replacing and repairing the system.

Like Crist and Kriseman, both Lee and Frankel are Democrats. Frankel represents Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, which stretches from Riviera Beach in Palm Beach County to Ft. Lauderdale and Plantation in Broward County. Lee represents California’s 13th CD. She is a member of the Budget Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal government spending.

After they toured the sewer plant, Crist, Lee and Frankel joined U.S. Rep Kathy Castor at Chief’s Creole Café restaurant in south St. Petersburg where they met with a group of women to discuss issues important to them. Castor, a Democrat, represents Florida’s 14th Congressional District, which includes Tampa, part of St. Petersburg and parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Crist Kriseman Lee Frankel CastorAmong the women at the roundtable discussion were Pinellas School Board member Rene Flowers, Gulfport Council member Yolanda Roman, and Susan Glickman, Florida Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund.

Among the issues: equal pay, more equitable access to funding for small businesses run by women and minorities, reproductive choice, women’s health, energy, global warming and climate change, solar power, Social Security, jobs, anti-minority bias in policing, and education.

Castor, Frankel and Lee agreed: None of those things would get done while Congress is controlled by Republicans.

The priorities of the Republican-led Congress are completely divorced from the issues that are important to everyday people, Castor said.

They urged the women at the table to help elect Crist to add his voice to those of other Democrats in Congress and as a step to gaining a majority of seats in the U.S. House.

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Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards to USF students: Millennials will decide this election

 

Cecile Richards paid a visit to the University of South Florida campus Monday, where she told an audience consisting of mostly female students, that people like themselves — especially those living in Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor — will help decide the presidential election next month.

“Millennial voters are going to determine who the next president is,” said Richards, who has been president of Planned Parenthood for the past decade. “And the millennial voters who are going to matter the most are the ones here in Florida.”

Richards is an unabashed supporter of Hillary Clinton, and she made the trip to USF to advocate that students make sure to try to get as many people registered as possible before the deadline, which was extended by a judge to Wednesday.

“Your votes are disproportionately important,” Richards said, referring to the power of the I-4 corridor, and the fact that unlike so many other college campuses where she visits in non-battleground states, the students sitting before her on Monday “actually have an opportunity to make a difference.”

Richards rejected Donald Trump’s description of his lewd remarks from 2005 that were made public at the debate as “locker-room talk,” saying it was flat-out “sexual harassment and sexual assault.”

“It’s little too late to be appalled by what Donald Trump is saying,” she continued. “He has gone after Muslims in this country, immigrants in this county, Mexicans, women. It’s time to stand up and say this is not who we are. We’re better than this.”

Richards is also a big fan of Barack Obama, who she said history ultimately will consider one of America’s greatest presidents. She offered big praise for his selection of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, and applauded passage of the Affordable Care Act, the president’s signature domestic achievement that seems to be garnering more negative headlines these days.

Richards celebrated three separate provisions of the ACA which she said were incredibly important: 1) the provision that allows people to stay under their parents’ health care coverage until 26, 2) the end of gender discrimination in health care premiums, and  3) that maternity care is now included.

Joining Richards in speaking to the group of approximately 50 students who crammed into a conference room at the Marshall Center was Hillsborough County Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor. She complained congressional Republicans have been “sidelining” Democrats from addressing issues like immigration and student debt or jobs to instead attack Planned Parenthood.

In February, the House of Representatives failed to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that would have denied Planned Parenthood funding from Medicaid. A congressional panel was convened in 2015 after videos from a pro-life group called the Center for Medical Progress appeared to show Planned Parenthood officials selling human body parts. That case ultimately went to court in Texas, but a Houston grand jury did not charge the abortion provider with any wrongdoing, and instead indicted one of the activists, David Daleiden, with offering to purchase human organs from the group.

“This is not what we should be doing in Washington D.C.,” Castor charged regarding the votes to defund the organization.

Although the event was designed around ginning up support for Clinton, not everyone in the audience was signing on to the program.

Rachel Piotrowski, a 22-year-old graduate student in public health and Bernie Sanders supporter, says she may write in the Vermont senator for president.

“I don’t find her relatable or honest,” Piotrowski said on why she couldn’t get behind Clinton. “I just think she’ll say anything when the time is right and it’s politically advantageous for her to say so.”

She did say she’s concerned about how a Trump presidency could lead to Supreme Court justices who could overturn Roe v. Wade, but said regardless of who’s president, “people will need to take more personal responsibility and advocacy for the things that they want to support.”

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Planned Parenthood PAC president to stump for Hillary Clinton in Florida

Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards has been an active surrogate for Hillary Clinton throughout the campaign.

And on Sunday and Monday, Richards will be active in Florida for the Democratic nominee and the current front-runner.

Richards will be in Gainesville Sunday, rallying the troops at 4 p.m. at a phone bank at 4056 W. Newberry Road, before an 8 p.m. appearance at a debate watch party at 1731 NW 6th St.

Monday finds Richards with two voter registration drive stops.

Monday at 10:30 sees Richards at Orlando’s University of Central Florida’s Student Union, where she will rally the troops with the UCF College Democrats.

At 3 p.m. on Monday, Richards will appear with Rep. Kathy Castor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Organizers bill the USF event as a voter registration kickoff.

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Tampa Bay Builders Association endorses Luis Viera in Tampa City Council District 7 race

Attorney Luis Viera has been endorsed by the Tampa Bay Builders Association for the Tampa City City Council District 7 seat.

“I’m honored to be endorsed by TBBA — a leading trade association dedicated to building a better Tampa,” Viera said in a statement. “The residents of District 7 have a clear choice in this city council election. I have been a community leader in Tampa my entire adult life and these key endorsements reflect the resolve, dedication, and qualifications needed on city council. “

Viera is one of six candidates running for the North Tampa seat, being vacated prematurely by Lisa Montelione, who is running for the state Legislature. In addition to builders’ endorsement, Congresswoman Kathy Castor and City Council Chair Mike Suarez are also backing his candidacy.

Viera has been by far the most prolific fundraiser in the contest, raising nearly $59,000 as of Sept. 16.  The next-closest candidate in terms of fundraising is doctor and businessman Cyril Spiro, who has raised less than half of that ($28,917).

The election takes place Nov. 8.

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