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Gwen Graham contributes $1,000 to Lisa Montelione in her bid for State House 63

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione is the first of three major candidates vying for the House District 63 seat to report fundraising totals from April, bringing in $19,490, her highest fundraising month to date.

Among those contribution $1,000 to her campaign last month was Cigar City Brewing founder Joey Redner, as well as his wife Jennifer.

And a look further back into the Tampa Democrat’s contributions to date include a $1,000 check received in late February from none other than Gwen Graham, the Tallahassee Congresswoman who recently announced that she would not be running for reelection this fall, after her district was significantly changed due to redistricting.

Two weeks ago, Graham made statewide headlines when she announced that she was “seriously considering” a bid for governor in 2018, and the contribution came as the Graham camp begins to create a statewide farm team of surrogates for her likely 2018 bid for the Governor’s Mansion. Sources familiar with Graham’s thinking say both her fundraising strategy and personal contributions will be inflected by a desire to create allies and stoke good will with down-ballot Democrats.

Other notable $1,000 contributors who have donated to Monteleone’s campaign in recent months include Lisa DeBartolo and Jose Toledo, the husband of Republican House District 60 candidate Jackie Toledo.

Montelione is battling Mike Reedy for the Democratic nomination this August. The winner will take on Republican incumbent Shawn Harrison, though there have been rumors floating about that he may consider a run for state senate if Tom Lee opts out of not running for reelection in his SD 20 seat.

Harrison and Reedy have yet to disclose their fundraising for April. Those reports are not due until next week.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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