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Hillsborough Democrats allocate money to aid Guido Maniscalco City Council bid

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee on Monday voted to allocate $1,500 in funds to Tampa City Council candidate Guido Maniscalco in his bid to capture the District 6 City Council seat. The money will go for canvassing and phone banking.

The 30-year-old Maniscalco is running against civil engineer Jackie Toledo in the March 24 runoff election. Early voting began on Monday and continues until Sunday in the district, which consists of West Tampa, Seminole Heights and parts of South Tampa.

Ione Townsend, vice chair of the Hillsborough Democratic Executive Committee, said that the party had originally agreed to allocate $2,000 for Maniscalco’s campaign, and it was believed that only $500 of that original allotment had been spent. Although one Democrat expressed concern about setting a precedent, the measure was easily approved on a 24-2 vote.

Referring to the fact that the party has struggled to be relevant in the past, former Hillsborough DEC Chair Michael van Hoek stood up during the meeting to support the precedent, saying that the motion to provide funds to the Maniscalco campaign “would allow us to be relevant towards our candidate.”

The Tampa municipal elections are officially nonpartisan affairs, but Democrats in Hillsborough and across the state have taken pride in that the current Council is made up exclusively of seven Democrats, and they’d like to keep it that way. Maniscalco is a Democrat running against Toledo, a Republican

The Democrats than voted to use the remaining hour in their monthly meeting at the Children’s Board in Ybor City to devote exclusively to calling up registered Democrats and independent voters in District 6.

In the battle for fundraising, Maniscalco has trailed Toledo since the campaign began. She currently has raised $145,682 (not including a fundraiser held last night), while Maniscalco has taken in $47, 564. A fundraiser for Maniscalco that includes Tommy Castellano takes place tonight in South Tampa. Castellano received 25 percent of the vote in the primary election. He endorsed Maniscalco on Election Night.

Showing the interest in this race transcends Tampa. Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant will be coming to Tampa this Friday afternoon to head up a phone banking session. That takes place between 5-7 p.m. at the Tampa Letter Carrier’s Hall.

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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