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Jay Polgaze lands commanding fundraising lead in sole Clearwater council seat challenge

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Clearwater City Councilman Jay Polgaze is far out-fundraising the challenger in his re-election bid for seat 3. Polgaze has raised more than $13,000 compared to his opponent’s $1,070.

Challenger Robert Cundiff brought in most of his contributions, $770, in December, the most recent campaign finance reporting period.

He’s spent about $300. Most went to Slate Strategies for an online contribution platform, reports filed with the Clearwater City Clerk indicate.

Contributions came from a $300 loan to himself and a $300 contribution from retired Clearwater twins Jane and Joan Kochan.

Meanwhile, Polgaze raked in $2,700 in December. Clearwater businessman Joseph White contributed the maximum $1,000. Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates cut a check for $500. The Consus Group, which includes former State Rep. Ed Hooper, donated $200.

Polgaze spent a little over $700 in December. Most of that went to the Sheraton on Clearwater Beach for a fundraising event.

Cundiff is a 70-year old teacher at St. Petersburg College. He teaches speech communication and public speaking. This is his first run for office.

Polgaze was elected to City Council in 2012., and is vice mayor.

He worked for the U.S. Postal Service 29 years after retiring from the Army in 1979. He’s an executive board member for the American Cancer Society of Pinellas, and is on the Citizens Advisory Council of the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

He was on Clearwater’s Downtown Development Board and is a two-time member of the city’s Charter Review Committee.

Polgaze has drawn high-profile support from Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Tax Collector Diane Nelson and Pinellas County Commissioners Janet Long, Charlie Justice, and John Morroni.

Cundiff and Polgaze face off at the polls March 15 as a down-ballot race on the Presidential Preference Primary.

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 [email protected]

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