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Pinellas GOP aims to have top presidential hopeful as Lincoln dinner draw

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

The Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner is set for March 12 at the Hilton Carillon Hotel in the county’s Gateway area. The event is the party’s biggest fundraiser.

This year’s goal for the dinner is $200,000. Last year the group raised $140,000. Because it was an off-election year, however, that amount was record-breaking for the local party.

Pinellas County Republican Party Executive Committee Chairman Nick DeCeglie said the group expects more than 500 guests this year for its self-proclaimed star-studded event.

The group hasn’t announced speakers yet. However, DeCeglie said they expect at least one top official from Florida and are hoping to feature a top-tier candidate for president. The dinner falls  three days before Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary.

The event, named after Abraham Lincoln because he was the nation’s first Republican president, draws party loyalists including grassroots activists and top donors. The event is held each spring near Lincoln’s Feb.12 birthday.

A VIP reception is set for 6 p.m. with the general reception and silent auction beginning at 6:30. Dinner begins at 7:30.

The event is black tie.

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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