With only three weeks to go before the election, Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice has narrowed the fundraising gap between him and challenger Mike Mikurak.
And thus far, Justice has spent sparingly. With about $44,633 in campaign expenditures, he’s spent about half the $96,748 Mikurak has put into the race.
During the first seven days of this month, Justice raised $3,840. Among his donors was Dan Hester, a former Seminole City Council member, who founded Meow Now. Meow Now is the first group granted permission by Pinellas County to try TNVR as a way of controlling the feral cat population. TNVR stands for trapping, neutering, vaccinating, and returning. Justice also received $1,000 from the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union political action committee.
The $3,840 brings Justice’s overall fundraising total to $96,907.
Mikurak raised $2,150 during that same seven-day period. That brings his overall total to $147,487.
While Mikurak does have a far larger balance than Justice, about a third of Mikurak’s funds (about $42,700) comes from monies and in-kind contributions he has given to himself. That leaves him with about $105,000 in donations, not terribly far ahead of Justice, who has put less than $1,000 of his money into his campaign.
Justice, a Democrat, is seeking his second term as the District 3 representative on the county commission. Justice has based his campaign on the improvement in the county government’s relationships — both inside and outside with cities, residents, and others — since he was elected four years ago.
Mikurak, a Republican, is running on his 30-plus years’ business experience and his volunteer experience since his retirement. He has accused Justice, a former member of both the state House and Senate, of being a “career politician.”
District 3 is run countywide. The election is Nov. 8.