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Jim Frishe is down, but not out

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Jim Frishe isn’t too worried about the fundraising gap between him and his opponent for Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty. Frishe posted just $300 in earnings during the month of January with Twitty bringing in nearly $7,500.

The total fundraising numbers show Twitty leading the charge with more than $100,000 raised to date compared with Frishe’s just $39,000. And Frishe has had longer to raise. He jumped into the race about four months before Twitty.

Frishe said he’s been working on “strictly political stuff” that has kept him from fundraising, but will get back to bringing some cash in soon. He said he expects there to be some contributors whose names will be recognizable in the coming months.

Asked whether he had any intention of dropping out of the race, Frishe said no.

But he’s got a long way to go to bridge the gap. As a former state representative, Frishe has name recognition on his side. He’s gathered some high-profile support from people like state Sen. Jack Latvala and former state Rep. Ed Hooper.

But he’s been inactive in campaigning for quite some time. The last time he posted anything on his campaign’s Facebook page was Christmas.

Meanwhile, Twitty is getting backing from some big names too. State Sen. Jeff Brandes, former Pinellas County Commissioner and Jack Latvala’s ex-wife Susan Latvala and City Council member Ed Montanari. Twitty was recruited for the position by Pinellas Clerk of the Courts Ken Burke.

Twitty also earned a key endorsement from incumbent Property Appraiser Pam Dubov, who is not seeking re-election.

Qualifying for the race isn’t until June, so there’s still plenty of time for someone else to throw their name in the hat. Both Frishe and Twitty are Republicans. Though the race is considered fairly nonpartisan, it’s still possible for Democrats to put someone up for the job.

Voters make their pick in November.

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

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