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Close fundraising race in Pinellas School Board campaigns

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Fundraising has been slow for the four candidates running for the two open seats on the Pinellas County School Board, according to the latest financial reports.

District 1

Matt Stewart
Matt Stewart
Joanne Lentino
Joanne Lentino

In the race for the District 1 seat, Matt Stewart is running slightly behind Joanne Lentino in overall fundraising, but he was ahead in bringing in money during the first seven days of October.

Overall, Lentino has $33,512. Of that, $1,675 came in early this month. Most — $1,000 — came from the Florida Education Association Advocacy Fund. The FEA is the statewide teachers union. She also received $100 from Susan Latvala, who formerly served on both the Pinellas School Board and County Commission.

Stewart has raised a total of $31,415, with $2,225 of that coming in the first part of this month. A little less than half came from a $1,000 donation from the Realtors Political Advocacy Committee. Stewart also received $150 from the South St. Pete Democratic Club.

Both Lentino and Stewart are first-time candidates. There is no incumbent in the race.

The District 1 race is run countywide. School board races are non-partisan.

District 5

Carol Cook
Carol Cook
Eliseo Santana
Eliseo Santana

In the race for the District 5 seat, incumbent Carol Cook is ahead overall. But challenger Eliseo Santana brought in a bit more money during the Oct. 1 through 7 time period.

Cook has raised about $24,976 in all, with $1,250 coming in during the first days of October.

Santana has raised a total of $23,746 with $1,615 coming in during early October. The majority of that — $1,000 — came from Florida Education Association, Advocacy Fund.

Cook has served on the School Board since 2000. Santana is making his first run for public office.

District 5 covers a section of mid-Pinellas. It is voted on by residents of that district.

The election is Nov. 8.

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