If you go by fundraising, then Mike Twitty is a shoo-in to win Tuesday’s Republican primary for the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s Office.
But Twitty, a political newcomer, is facing an opponent experienced in Pinellas politics. Jim Frishe has twice served in the state House of Representatives from 1984 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2012.
For both of them, the issue comes down to experience. But each has a different kind of experience.
The property appraiser is a constitutional office that sets the values of real estate. That value is used when figuring how much property taxes people pay.
Twitty says his 26 years as a professional real estate appraiser and 23 years as principal and vice president of the commercial and residentialappraisal firm Entreken Assocs. qualify him for the job. Pinellas Clerk of Court Ken Burke agrees, he said, as that’s who suggested he run. Burke, he said, believed he had the right skill set for the job.
Frishe is a licensed real estate broker and that 30 years in business gives him the background to run the office. Frishe said he was approached by senior appraisers in the Property Appraiser’s Office who asked him to run when the incumbent Pam Dubov decided to retire.
Frishe said he consulted Dubov who suggested he needed some academic qualifications for the job. So Frishe went back to school to prepare himself by taking courses in mass appraisals.
“Just because I’m not an appraiser doesn’t mean I don’t know the value of things,” Frishe told an audience this summer at a candidates’ forum in north Pinellas.
Frishe isn’t doing as well as Twitty at fundraising. He’s raised $63,062.98, less than half Twitty’s $151,681. The figures are the latest available from the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Office.
And Twitty has spent almost three times as much as Frishe – $148, 354.46 and $55,899.23, respectively – in the race. Included in that is $61,200 Twitty spent with Mentzer Media Services of Towson, MD, for media placement.
The winner of Tuesday’s race will go on to face write-in candidate Joseph John Catalano in the Nov. 8 general election. The polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.