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In Pinellas Commission race, Charlie Justice slightly edges Mike Mikurak in Q1 fundraising

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

In the latest round of financial reports, Republican Mike Mikurak continues his substantial lead over incumbent Charlie Justice  in the Pinellas County Commission race.

According to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, Mikurak — who has been campaigning for the District 3 seat since last September — has raised exactly $80,805. While Justice, who didn’t formally file to run until a month after his opponent, has brought in approximately $40,357.

However, recent figures from each camp show a much closer race.

Since January, Mikurak has brought in close to $18,000. Justice, in the same amount of time, has raked in almost $21,000.

In fact, for March alone, Justice raised nearly $12,000 on 55 unique contributions. It marks the second highest fundraising total he’s accumulated in one finance period since entering the race. And Justice can thank — at least in part — the recent endorsement from the Pinellas Realtor Organization (PRO), one of Tampa Bay’s largest trade organizations, for his big March. 

Last month, the County Commission Chairman’s three maximum allowable $1,000 contributions came from the Realtors Political Action Committee, the Realtors Political Activity Committee, and the Realtors Political Advocacy Committee. All three are located at 200 Monroe Street, in Tallahassee.

Other PACs to donate to Justice in March include the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas — a group which champions equal rights for the LGBT community — and the Largo/Mid-Pinellas Democratic Club. Each donated $500.

University of South Florida St. Petersburg Dean Bill Heller also tossed in $500 last month for the re-election effort.

As for the March expenditures, Justice only dished out about $200 for office supplies and postage.

His opponent, however, dropped a little more last month. Mikurak spent just over $3,000: $1,200 on campaign T-shirts and exactly $2,000 to pay his campaign staff.

Mikurak’s received contributions for the month include $1,000 donations from Largo’s 6365 53rd Street N. LLC, Pinellas Park’s Hydrologic Distribution Company, and Gulfport sales and marketing firm VP Jeffrey Plummer.

Political consultant Craig Chown also donated to the Mikurak campaign in the form of a $500 check, while the St. Petersburg-based Young Floridians for Opportunity PAC contributed $100.

Both candidates will square off in November, as residents countywide will vote for their preferred District 3 County Commissioner.

And the outcome will have some massive political ramifications.

If Mikurak wins, he’ll most likely be re-establishing the County Commission as a Republican-heavy board. Currently, no other sitting Commissioner whose seat is up for grabs in November — Republican Karen Seel, and Democrats Janet Long, and Ken Welch — has drawn a challenger.

As of now, the board is controlled by the Democrats, with four of its seven members belonging to the blue party.

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for SaintPetersblog.com, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for FloridaBarTab.com. He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail devon@floridapolitics.com, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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