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Kathleen Ford, Scott Wagman – the two candidates who benefited most from local Democratic support – stiff Pinellas Dems, while Mike Fox mans up

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by
During the 2009 St. Petersburg Mayoral Race, candidates Kathleen Ford and Scott Wagman benefitted greatly from the support of local Democrats.

“As expected, Pinellas Democrats have thrown their support behind Kathleen Ford, the Democratic contender in the nonpartisan mayoral race.” – Bay Buzz, Pinellas Democrats throw support behind Kathleen Ford for St. Pete mayor

“Local and state Democrats are aggressively targeting St. Petersburg’s officially nonpartisan mayor’s race to help put a Democrat, Kathleen Ford, in the mayor’s seat, while Republicans so far are showing little organized effort to help Bill Foster keep the post in the GOP column.” – Adam Smith, Should partisan politics play a role in a nonpartisan race?

“The Stonewall Democrats interviewed the Democratic front-runners –– Ford, Wagman and Bennett –– and expect to endorse a candidate next month.” – Cristina Silva, St. Petersburg’s gay community seeks to become key voting bloc in mayor and council elections

Yet, on Saturday night, at the Pinellas County Democratic Party’s annual Kennedy King Dinner, neither Ford or Wagman bothered to show up, much less donate to the local party’s major fundraiser.

“I could understand them not coming to an event if it were a month after the election, but to not come to this fundraiser…that shows what kind of Democrats they really are,” said one Democratic activist who said she volunteered on Wagman’s campaign during the primary and Ford’s campaign in the general election.

As a matter of fact, none of the Democratic candidates for St. Peterburg Mayor attended the Kennedy King Dinner, which attracted every major Democratic statewide candidate running in 2010. Jamie Bennett didn’t show. Nor did Ed Helm (or his wife Adrian). Helm is also a former party chair.

But let me tell you who did show up. Mike Fox. That may not sound like too much of a surprise considering how active Fox is in local Democratic politics. But, before Saturday, Fox had not planned to attend the event because of how involved he is in a local campaign (it’s two weeks before Election Day). Yet, Fox cares enough about the local Democratic party that, although he could not stay for the full program, he made sure the party received his $100.

So to summarize, the millionaire candidates who took full advantage of the local Democratic party’s resources couldn’t bother to attend the Kennedy King Dinner, while the hard-working activist, dressed in jeans, was man enough to make sure his $100 made its way to the party.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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