Major fundraiser Tuesday for City Council candidate Darden Rice

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Civic leader Darden Rice firmly believes in St. Petersburg’s potential, and she has a plan to keep “St. Pete Strong.”

Rice will discuss her vision for the city’s future at a campaign fundraiser as part of her bid to win the District 4 seat on the St. Petersburg City Council. Former Florida governor Charlie Crist is also expected to make a “special appearance” at the event, which begins Tuesday at 5:30 pm at Cassis American Brasserie on 170 Beach Drive.

“We need a City Council that sets clear goals, acts with transparency, and engages the public,” Rice says, “so that we can achieve the maximum potential job creation in marine research, medical sectors, financial services, and IT.”

Rice announced her candidacy in March and has already received several high-profile supporters, including Crist, Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as well as the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association. She is currently running against neurosurgeon Dr. David McKalip and Carolyn Fries in the city’s Aug. 27 primary election. 

In recent polls, Rice leads both McKalip and Fries to succeed Leslie Curran, who now holds the District 4 seat and faces term limits.

As a longtime community activist, former President of the St. Pete League of Women Voters and present Chair of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority legislative committee, Rice cites her love of the city as her motivation to run for City Council. Her campaign platform — St. Pete Strong — centers on themes of “strong city services,” “strong communities” and “strong businesses and jobs.”

“I am the best-qualified person in the race to work with the Council to do exactly those things,” Rice says. “I am also the best-qualified candidate to work with local and regional leaders to advance transportation choices for the future of our region.”

Michelle Todd and Peter Schorsch host Tuesday’s campaign event, along with several of Rice’s enthusiastic supporters:

  • Laura Boehmer of Southern Strategies Group
  • Chris Carmody of GrayRobinson
  • Tony Collins of Tucker Hall
  • Alan Suskey of Capitol Insight
  • Strategist Carrie Henriquez
  • Zac Sitzberger 
  • Attorney Amanda Taylor
  • Business executive Scott Wagman
  • Frank Wells of World Power & Water
  • Emily Worden 

For more information or to RSVP, visit the event’s Facebook Page

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.