February fundraising in the only competitive Pinellas County Commission race was fairly lackluster. Incumbent, Charlie Justice, took a first step in closing the gap between him and his challenger, Mike Mikurak. With $4,225 coming in during the month, Justice outraised Mikurak by nearly double this report. Mikurak raised $2,695.
But the difference didn’t put much of a dent into Mikurak’s fundraising head start. The Republican has raised nearly $74,000 compared to Justice who has raised less than $30,000.
Justice pulled in 26 contributions from a variety of donors. His highest contributions came from C1 Bank CEO Trevor Burgess, Pepper Contracting Services, and the Hurricane Lounge in Pass-a-grille. Each of those individuals and businesses donated $500.
Dentist Johnny Johnson donated the second highest amount with $300. The donation is the only this round to be interesting. Justice is a Democrat. Johnson ran for County Commission in 2014 as a Republican for the seat ultimately won by Pat Gerard. Her win meant it was the first time in 50 years Democrats comprised a majority of the board. The donation also represents a potential talking point for Justice to tout bi-partisanship.
Johnson is also a prominent north county dentist who Justice may be able to tap for help bringing in even more fundraising from the dental community.
PlanningWorks founder Larry Biddle wrote a check to Justice’s campaign for $250. Biddle is also hosting a fundraiser for Justice later this month. Also donating $250 were the WCFFL Political Committee, a labor group, and Resort Inns of America.
Justice appears popular among hoteliers. Czyszczon Robert and Gregg Nicklaus both donated $200 and the Alden Suites on St. Pete Beach provided $316 worth of in-kind services for a campaign event.
Meanwhile, Mikurak brought in just six donations in February. He pulled in two $1000 contributions from Audrey Dohrman, founder of Ultra Advertising. Her company also contributed $1,000. Tiffany Restaurant, a previous donor, kicked in $500.
Neither candidate spent a terrible amount of money this report. Mikurak spent a little less than $900. Most of that went for signs. He spent $200 on WebElect software that helps candidates manage voter data and other streamlining campaign features.
Justice spent just $137 on a campaign event with the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee.
Neither candidate is facing a challenger in the Primary. They’ll face off in the November General Election.