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Bob Gualtieri tops $62,000 in January from donors for sheriff re-election bid

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Despite lacking any formidable opponent, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri doesn’t appear to be taking any chances in his re-election bid. Gualtieri raised more than $62,000 in January bringing his total campaign account to about $72,000.

Gualtieri’s only filed opponent, James McLynas, has not raised a dime.

Gualtieri’s fundraising haul came mostly from large contributions. More than $30,000 of his January total came from maximum $1,000 contributions. That includes several in the law enforcement and legal field.

Former Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats and his wife, Cat Coats, each donated $500. Gualtieri succeeded Coats in office after the popular sheriff chose not to seek re-election to help his wife recover from breast cancer.

Maximum contributions came from Pinellas County Sheriff Assistant Chief Deputy Sean Jowell, Chief Deputy Dan Simovich, attorney David Abbey, and the Law Offices of James A. Hellinger. Others kicked in large contributions as well. Pinellas and Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger’s wife, Kay, donated $250 as did 19th Street Bail Bonds.

The Carey and Leisure Law Firm donated $500, joining attorney Shannon Lockheart, private investigator Robert Mazur, and the Law Offices of Robert Eckard &Associates, among others.

High-profile donors also contributed. Pinellas County Commissioner Nancy Bostock and Pinellas County Commission candidate Mike Twitty each donated $100. Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov cut a check for $250.

St. Petersburg College provost Bill Law donated $150. Chris Alahouzos, a Tarpon Springs mayoral candidate contributed $100. Developer Brent Sembler kicked in $1,000. Harvard & Jolly architects, the firm that designed the inverted pyramid and bid to build Destination St. Pete Pier, contributed $1,000 while William Harvard also personally donated $500.

Gualtieri raked in a decent haul from Realtors and developers. Alan Bomstein donated $1,000 as did David Nelson Construction. The Ajax Building Corp. donated $500.

East Lake Special Fire District Commission candidate and library board member Roger Johnson and his wife each contributed $1,000.

Gualtieri also got a boost from political committees. The Florida Leadership Committee, Restore Florida, and Motorola Solutions PAC each contributed $1,000.

It appears the pool supply industry is behind Gualtieri. Four companies including Pinch-A-Penny, Froy Inc., Sun Wholesalers Supply, and the Cepcot Corp. each donated $1,000 to Gualtieri’s campaign.

Of Gualtieri’s 189 total contributions in January, fewer than 40 were for less than $100.

Meanwhile, during that same month, Gualtieri spent just $7,500. About $3,500 went to the Hilton Carillon Park for a campaign event. Another $3,000 went to printing signs from Gulfcoast Imprinting and another $1,000 was paid to accountant Thomas Kiernan for services as his campaign treasurer.

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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