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Lisa Wheeler-Brown’s campaign contributions are the most local

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Tampa Bay Times has a nifty little interactive map showing where St. Pete City Council candidates are getting their money. Each candidate touts local ties to the community as an electability plus, but the top two frontrunners are at completely different ends of the spectrum based on campaign finance records.

Lisa Wheeler-Brown, a Midtown activist who has long fought for safer streets in the mostly black District 7, has raised the most money locally. Of her more than $30,000 raised as of the last reporting date, 69.1 percent came from St. Pete addresses with 80.2 percent of contributions coming from within Pinallas County. The entire Tampa Bay area accounts for more than 91 percent of her total contributions.

Meanwhile, Will Newton, a union bargainer for local firefighters, brought in more than 18 percent of his total contributions from Washington, D.C., and Tallahassee. Much of his $21,565 in contributions has come from firefighter groups.

Of his total contributions, just 22.5 percent came from St. Pete and 36 percent from Pinellas County.

Coming in third in the polls and in fundraising, Sheila Scott-Griffin has received $8,431 in contributions with 61.6 percent coming from St. Pete residents. Pulling in the rest of Pinellas County that number jumps to 76 percent. According to the Times, only one contribution for $100 came from out of state.

Aaron Sharpe has raised $6,389. Of that 73 percent came from St. Pete. A $1,000 contribution from Austin, Texas, pushed his out-of-state percentage to 15.

Lewis Stephens has only raised $700 and did not list addresses for those contributions.

The map is also telling of how candidates have been collecting money for their campaigns. Wheeler-Brown’s contributions are shown in teal. There are more of her dots than any other candidates and they are the most concentrated in her district, echoing her claim to be running a grassroots campaign.

Griffin’s contributions, though fewer of them, seem to also be concentrated in District 7. However, Scott-Griffin’s appear to gravitate more toward Childs Park while Wheeler-Brown’s are closer to Midtown.

Likewise, Sharpe’s contributions are clustered the most tightly in the west side of the District where his Pasadena Bear Creek neighborhood is located.

And despite being second in total fundraising numbers, Newton’s burnt orange dots are sparse on the map, only showing Tampa Bay.

The final round of campaign finance reports leading up to the primary election are due Friday.

The primary election is Tuesday. The top two vote-getters will move on to the November 3 general election. That election will be open citywide.

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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