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Despite having a broke opponent, Steve Kornell readies for campaign kickoff party

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

According to the most recent campaign finance documents filed with the City of St. Pete, City Council member Steve Kornell is crushing his opponent in campaign cash.

Kornell has raised more than $35,000 for his re-election bid. His opponent, Phillip Garrett, has goose eggs. That’s right. As of August 2, the most recent campaign finance information available, Garrett hasn’t raised a dime.

But that’s not stopping Kornell from launching a robust campaign and taking nothing for granted. Kornell is hosting a campaign kickoff party September 9 from 6-9 p.m. at the Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove. The hotel is located on Tampa Bay just near the Skyway Bridge.

“Join Steve as he kicks off his campaign for his final term to the St. Petersburg City Council,” an event page on Facebook invites. “He is not taking any vote, handshake or phone call for granted and needs your help in order to continue serving St. Pete! Councilman Kornell invites you to join him as he lays out his vision for St. Pete during his next term.”

It’s wise for Kornell not to take re-election for granted despite lacking a formidable candidate. The Tampa Bay Times has been rough on him in recent months because Kornell is one of four holdouts on Mayor Rick Kriseman’s agreement with the Rays to allow the Major League Baseball team to look for stadium sites outside the city.

Prior to the qualifying deadline the Times issued a scathing op-ed lambasting Kornell and calling for anyone to run against him to boot him out of office. They based that critique on the sole Rays issue.

The Times hasn’t endorsed anyone in the race. It’s anyone’s guess whether they will, but if they do endorse Kornell it’s likely to be begrudgingly.

More than 200 people were invited to Kornell’s campaign kickoff through Facebook. Nine have so far indicated they’d be going including Kornell’s former partner and good friend Bobby Poth, Democratic activist Suzanne Snurpus, Lisa Wheeler-Brown campaign manager Meagan Salisbury and Eric Lynn campaign manager Tom Alte.

The general election is November 3.

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 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

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