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Mike Twitty expands already commanding fundraising lead over Jim Frishe

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Pinellas County Property Appraiser candidate Mike Twitty is the first countywide candidate this election cycle to raise more than $100,000. With $103,755 raked in through January, Twitty has also outraised his opponent by more than $60,000.

Jim Frishe, a former state representative, should be benefiting from better name recognition than Twitty, a first-time political candidate. But the numbers don’t show that.

In January alone, Twitty raised nearly $7,500 compared with Frishe’s $300. And Frishe has been in the race for longer – nearly a year compared to Twitty’s six months.

Twitty’s latest fundraising haul came from mostly moderate contributions. While he only had 10 contributions under $100, he also only brought in one maximum contribution. Erica Trey, a real estate professional, was the only contributor to hand over a check for $1,000.

He brought in just six $500 contributions from various county residents including developers Mark Mahaffey and Patrick Walsh, financial planners Dale Emerick and Crag Philips and realtor James Smith.

Attorney Elizabeth Daniels contributed $300 and a handful of resident kicked in between $200 and $250. Nine others wrote checks for $100.

Meanwhile Frishe brought in two $100 contributions from Curtis Chambers of Largo and Carol Bumiller, a retired VA nurse. Attorney and former judicial candidate Brian Battaglia and St. Pete business owner Gail Herbert each donated $50.

Twitty also seems to be spending his money a bit more conservatively. Twitty has more than $90,000 left in his campaign coffers compared with Frishe’s $30,000.

Twitty spent just $1,232 in January for political consulting, office space, business cards and advertising with Extensive Enterprises, the owner of this blog. Frishe spent $800 printing and WebElect software that helps campaigns target voters.

Twitty managed to save himself a few bucks. Billy’s Stone Crab and Seafood in Treasure Island comped a campaign event valued at $500.

The two candidates are running to replace Pam Dubov as property appraiser. She’s not seeking re-election.

Twitty is a veteran real estate appraiser who was recruited by Clerk of Court Ken Burke. He’s also earned an endorsement from Dubov as well as State Sen. Jeff Brandes, former Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala, and St. Pete City Councilman Ed Montanari.

While Frishe lacks Twitty’s professional experience, he has compiled a hard-hitting list of support of his own. That includes State Sen. Jack Latvala, former State Rep. Ed Hooper, Treasure Island Mayor Bob Minning, and Gulfport City Councilman Dan Liedtke.

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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