The current race for Clearwater mayor has always been cast as a David-and-Goliath contest between a well-known candidate and an underdog. But campaign finance reports released Friday make it clear just how wide a gap there is.
The lesser-known candidate, political newcomer Christine Marketos-Cuomo, has raised about $1,300 from supporters. Her opponent George Cretekos has raised $62,680 — about 50 times more — from his supporters. That has enabled him to blanket Clearwater with yard signs and political mailers.
The election is Tuesday. Clearwater voters will choose their next mayor and will vote on three city referendum questions.
…According to his report, Cretekos’ campaign has raised $62,680 and has spent about $30,000 on expenses like signs, printing and postage for fliers.
Influential locals like attorney Ed Armstrong, real estate executive Lee Arnold and restaurateur Frank Chivas contributed the maximum $500 each to Cretekos’ campaign. So did the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
Cretekos also received donations from former Mayor Brian Aungst, Hooters founder Ed Droste, Palm Pavilion owner Ken Hamilton, construction executive Alan Bomstein and former Tampa Bay Rays owner Vince Naimoli. He got contributions from Sand Key activists JoEllen Farnham and Cynthia Remley, Clearwater Beach activists Jerry Murphy and David Little, and mainland neighborhood activists Isay Gulley, Shelley Kuroghlian and Howard Warshauer. Campaign checks came from retirees, Realtors, lawyers and business people.